Once upon a time, Age Concern and Help The Aged were two major charities in the UK’s older people’s sector. Last year they came to their senses and realised that they may serve people better by merging rather than by competing. So, after many months of agonising negotiations (they each had staff and other interests they would need to shed in the process, not to mention constitutional matters to deal with), they agreed to the marriage and, although they still have separate organisations and websites, are moving towards becoming a unified organisation called Age UK.
So far, so good.
Now, both organisations have various arm’s length businesses whose profits help feed their charitable efforts and some of these businesses are in panic alarms: Aid Call is part of Age Concern that has a personal alarms and a nurse call systems business, and SeniorLink is the alarms brand of Help The Aged.
With the sell off, Aid Call will split into two separate businesses, one for the nurse call business and the personal alarms business. The latter will continue to trade on the Age UK brand, becoming ‘Age UK Personal Alarms’.
To thicken the plot, SeniorLink is connected to SeniorLinkEldercare which, according to Eldercare’s ‘minimalist’ website, has been a Limited Liability Partnership between Eldercare and Help the Aged since 2006.
Who is this dark horse Eldercare? Eldercare is the trading name of New Church Housing Services. It has been in the community alarm business since 1987 during which time it has developed a solid reputation with its housing sector and council clients.
The reason why Age Concern and Help The Aged have decided to sell off Aid Call is probably down to internal politics. Perhaps it is seen as the least-hassle route while they sort out their remaining issues. But where does that leave SeniorLink in the Age UK setup? And what about Eldercare?
To leave this story on a cliffhanger, will Help The Aged and Eldercare now break up the Senior Link/Eldercare partnership? Will Aid Call’s new owners sell it on to Eldercare or some other organisation to turn a quick profit and, if so, will Age UK see any of it?
Oh, I see you have dropped off to sleep. I’ll leave quietly…