7 Jan 2015
One windy and cold day in Newcastle in December, Alyson Bowcott and Graham Precey met with Meg Kirby, CEO of www.legacare.org who is a shining light in the north-east. Why?
Meg is the founder of the charity which provides on-call free solicitors all over the North East, any time of day or night for 1000 people per year - who are near the end of their life and are worried about leaving their personal and financial affairs in order, but do not have the money or time left to sort them out. Legacare work in partnership with the NHS and Macmillan nurses who will contact Meg and her team if they feel their patient is in need of their help.
The Legacare team often have to work very quickly. When they get a referral they can be on the road in 20 minutes to meet with a client.
Alyson said “It was a very emotional day and I was truly humbled by the Legacare team and the bravery of those they help, some of whom are in such very difficult and tragic circumstances. We met the team and three of their clients who are all in palliative care situations. One in particular sticks in my mind. We visited George and his wife of 60 years Anne at their home. They were sat side by side, hand in hand in their lounge as they have done for the past two years watching a video of their walks in the hills around Newcastle when they were well about 12 years ago. But those were the good times. George now has a degenerative lung condition which is incurable and he is now on oxygen. Since then Anne has developed dementia but he still is determined to look after her at home.
“George is an artist and showed us his amazing landscape paintings. His lifetime of work and he has been painting one for Meg. It is a lighthouse. In his view Legacare is a shining light amongst all of the darkness he and Anne are going through.”
One of the charities solicitors that we met was very complimentary about their interactions with clients who, by chance, have Legal & General policies. “When time is short for our clients, your pensions team in Cardiff were amazing to release funds quickly so that we could get our clients wishes in order before they sadly passed away”.
Legal & General have provided funding for the past year to help get this much needed service up and running as a pilot to prove the concept. It has proved worth its while and seen a huge demand for their work. Meg and the Legacare team were awarded a National Macmillan Innovation Award last month for their work.
Duncan Finch, Executive Managing Director, Insurance said: “I am delighted that we are supporting LegaCare to help them expand their services in the North East and beyond. Our partnerships with charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support and LegaCare help us to improve our understanding of the challenges that our customers face when they are dealing with a serious illness and how we can better support them. What matters to our customers, matters to us and we use this insight to help inform how we improve and develop our products and services to meet their needs. We are particularly interested in helping LegaCare to deliver their services across the UK so that more people can benefit.”