Adopt A Pensioner

Reporter: Andrew Bourke

This week we launched the Adopt-A-Pensioner website and the response from around the country has been overwhelming. Thousands of people have signed up to help struggling pensioners and those pensioners who are in need have been quick to accept the generosity of their communities. Well it's not just average people who've embraced this initiative, businesses too are getting involved, offering their products and services to pensioners at discount rates. "We had 8000 hits on the website in the first 24 hours."

"We've had over 400 pensioners sign up and we've had over 2000 helpers sign up." The number's are in and they speak from themselves. Average Australians have stood up for the pensioners who the government has forgotten. Our Adopt A Pensioner campaign is working. Adopt-A-Pensioner website creator Christian Turner is excited by the websites success. He has big plans for the site and believes this is just the beginning. "Businesses will be able to sign up their services and really get in there and help the pensioners, obviously business is where there's a little bit more room for people to help.

Today Tonight has been inundated with offers from generous business people wanting to help pensioners. If you go to the Adopt-a-Pensioner website you will notice they have added a separate area for businesses to sign up. You just tick the box marked business in the helpers section and fill in what services you provide, the discount offered and the area you cover. Pensioners will get in contact with you directly. There are businesses already making a difference in their communities, putting pensioners before profits.

Sunshine Coast accountant Michael Thomas from Lateral Financial Solutions has an offer no pensioner can afford to refuse. "We're offering them a discount on some basic tax and financial planning services. Pensioners who have a basic tax return to be done, we're offering them 50% off our standard rate which is a saving of $60 in addition to that we're prepared to see pensioners for a free consultation to look at their financial planning" says Michael.

Cornish Property Services are happy to help pensioners who need work done around the house. General Manager John Morrison says "We've agreed to give the pensioners of Sydney and the Central Coast a 40% discount off their hourly rate and we're also wiping the service call fee."

"They're not surviving as it is now, they've worked hard all their lives and they have no income coming in so why should they suffer." Hairdresser Carolyn Filliponi from Get Pampered Hair and Beauty is lending her time and expertise to senior citizens in need. "Some of the pensioners can't afford to get their hair done cos thats a luxury and I'm offering that service for them and they can come in and relax and chat to me and have a cuppa."

Melanie Aitkin from Australian Meat acquisitions in Queensland wants to do her bit for the pensioners. They've decided to raise funds for the Adopt-a-Pensioner campaign. And if you're a pensioner and you need help and you don't have access to a computer, you can go to your local library and where you'll be able to use a computer for free and sign up to the Adopt-A-Pensioner website.

Adopt-A-Pensioner scheme
Today Tonight has put the call out to help our pensioners. And while the government may be ignoring them - you are not.

An overwhelming response of giving and sharing is going on all around Australia, as ordinary people get behind our campaign and support needy pensioners.

Doxa said: "I'm a stranger to Mary and my heart has gone out to ever elderly person who has given their all to Australia."

"Mr Rudd, they deserve a fair go."

Mary said: "I think, Doxa, that you are giving back some dignity to people, the way you are going about things and people are indebted to you."

"I would just like to finish by saying that I was reared by the words caring and sharing. And, Mr Rudd, you are NOT caring or sharing with any of us."

"So please, please, please, do something to help the oldies."

Shops and companies helping out
Businesses are lending a hand too, but as always seems to be the case, battlers are helping battlers. The challenge is out for big business to get on board.

Hairdresser Carolyn Filliponi from Get Pampered Hair and Beauty is offering her services at a cut price.

"I couldn't give any money out, because I'm struggling as it is, so I understand what the pensioners are all about," Carolyn said.

"And the government should, but they probably won't, so that is why I am offering cheap haircuts."

Cornish Property Services are donating their expertise to help pensioners with household repairs.

General Manager John Morrison said: "We have agreed to give the pensioners of Sydney and the Central Coast a 40 per cent discount off their hourly rate and we are also wiping the service call fee."

"I'm hoping other companies get behind us and support the pensioners of Sydney."

New Adopt-A-Pensioner website
Tonight, we are launching an Australian first - an easy way for both pensioners and potential helpers to meet. A new website has launched:

Click here for the Adopt-A-Pensioner website

If you are a pensioner, click on the left and you will be asked to fill in some general details and what you need assistance with.

Alternatively, if you would like to adopt a pensioner, click on the right: fill in your details and where you can help.

You will be matched up with a pensioner in need in your local area and you are guaranteed no personal details will be given out.

Overwhelming response
Paul Versteege from the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association said: "The response here has been overwheleming, with people wanting to donate."

"The hits on our website have tripled within the space of a week. People are really getting into this campaign."

If you are time-poor and cannot adopt a pensioner, you can make a donation to the Combined Pensioners Superannuants Association, who will turn it into a food voucher - which won't affect the pensioner's taxation or pension payments.

"People are getting into this campaign and wanting to donate even the smallest amount and sometimes large amounts â?? it is really heartwarming." Mr Versteege said.

"They're taking over from the government, which is letting pensioners down, and have done so for many years now."

"The community is taking over in its own way and it is prompting the government to act now."

Adopt-A-Pensioner website info

Visit the Adopt-A-Pensioner website here*

How to use: If you are a pensioner, click on the left and you will be asked to fill in some general details and what you need assistance with.

If you would like to adopt a pensioner, click on the right: fill in your details and where you can help. You will be matched up with a pensioner in need in your local area and you are guaranteed no personal details will be given out.

If you don't have time to adopt a pensioner: you can make a donation which will be forwarded as a food voucher. To make donations, visit the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association website.

* The Adopt-A-Pensioner website requires you to have an email address when you sign up - pensioners and helpers alike. This means personal information, such as real addresses and contact details, is not given out. If you do not have an email account, try asking a neighbour or your local library, who will have internet access and can help you create an email address. If that is not possible, the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association may be able to help.

You only need the email address to get started and make initial contact. We recommend that you intially meet in a public space, to assess whether you are happy to form a friendship.