We’re delighted to announce that our 2022 Charity of the Year is the Anne Robson Trust; a cause close to our own hearts. Since the Austin’s charitable fund was set up by the Austin family in 2002, we have raised over £236,676 for charities. These funds help them to continue to do the amazing work that benefits so many of us day to day, usually when we least expect it.

The Anne Robson Trust works to support people facing the end of life, whether their own or that of someone dear to them. They believe that everyone should have the comfort and companionship of another human being as they die, as well as the support to prepare for the end of life. This is something that has very much come under the spotlight during the pandemic and that we at Austin’s passionately advocate.

The charity was set up in 2018 by Chief Executive Liz Pryor MBE, in memory of – and named after – her mother, Anne Robson. In January 2010, Liz’s mother was rushed to hospital from her care home in Suffolk with a suspected broken hip. She was discharged a week later and died a matter of hours after arriving home. Liz was not aware that her mother was dying and this heartbreaking experience was the springboard for her to start working in and around the NHS. A few years later Liz set up the Anne Robson Trust with the aim of improving care for the elderly and those alone at the end of their life.

Fast forward to January this year and Liz was awarded an MBE in the Queens 2021 New Year’s Honour’s list for services to end-of-life care. Becoming Austin’s Charity of the Year has been the cherry on top of the start to 2022.

Liz said: “We feel honoured to have been chosen as Austin’s Charity of the Year 2022. We are hugely grateful to everyone at Austins for helping The Anne Robson Trust raise awareness of our vital services for people approaching the end of their life, along with their family and loved ones. As a small charity, your support will go a long way in helping us reach the people who need us most. Thank you.

The Anne Robson Trust Helpline is staffed by specially-trained volunteers. It was set up in March 2021 and at Christmas last year they unveiled their first ever Christmas Appeal, #TimeToTalk, to help spread awareness of the helpline after seeing calls triple over the past six months. To give you an idea of where the money raised for the Trust could be used, it costs £20 to fund a helpline volunteer for one hour of support and £100 to recruit and train a volunteer to support anyone nearing the end of their life, their family, carers, friends, or colleagues.

Alongside their helpline, the charity does a lot of good work in hospitals to set up and run teams of ‘End of Life Volunteers’ to provide bedside companionship to patients in the final days and hours of their life, and emotional support to the patients’ visitors.

Liz is very passionate about the importance of talking about death. She says: “It’s inevitable that we are all going to die one day, and the pandemic has forced us all to consider our own mortality. Most people naturally shy away from conversations about the end of life, but we know that making simple plans, and sharing them with loved ones, can really help…”

We couldn’t agree more and regularly talk on this blog about preparing for and talking about our own passing with our families and close friends.

 To find out more about the Anne Robson Trust, visit: www.annerobsontrust.org.uk You can reach their helpline on 0808 801 0688.

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