Brenda's Story As we’ve launched our new More Money in Your Pocket guide last week we thought we’d take the opportunity to introduce to your our Advice and Advocacy team, and tell you a bit more about the amazing work they do. First up is our Head of Advice and Advocacy, Brenda Kearns. What’s your role and what does this involve? I am the head of the Advice and Advocacy team in Age NI. In addition to managing an active caseload, I also support and manage the team. I ensure that a high quality of advice is delivered at all times. Older people are the centre of everything we do, we take great pride in the service we provide, and its extremely rewarding knowing that we are improving the lives of older people. What do you enjoy most about your role? We continually meet older people, their families and carers who are in need of our help and support. It is humbling to have these people place their trust in us and allow us to act on their behalf. When we achieve positive outcomes for these people and realise the impact that out work is having on them it is very gratifying. It brings us back day after day to do it all again. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing older people in Northern Ireland? The biggest challenges facing older people today are numerous. The impact of austerity has seen budgets cut in government departments, which has resulted in a reduction in services. There is continual threat to the benefits older people have worked hard for such as free TV licence, free travel, and winter fuel payment. It is important that they know that we are here to ensure their voice is heard. 4. How does Age NI’s Advice and Advocacy team support older people, their carers, families? A free call to our service can allow older people to have their benefits checked, they can receive advice and assistance with accessing care and support at home, and we can also help them to navigate the regulation around accessing residential and nursing care. 5. Finally, what would your advice be to older people in Northern Ireland We encourage all older people to contact our free phone number 0808 808 7575 for a free benefit check or for advice and help on any matter. If you or anyone you know are facing any of the issues please call our Advice and Advocacy service on Freephone 0808 808 7575. Click here to download the guide or call 0808 808 7575 for more information.