A Liverpool professor’s generous donation helps fund activity room

Frances Sarkar, who was born in Liverpool in 1936, showed “compassion and kindness towards older people” from a young age. At seventeen, Frances began visiting care homes devoting her spare time to chatting, organising trips out, and making clothes for the residents.

This kindness and dedication to the elderly was to span the rest of her life; for almost 60 years.

Many of the people she befriended did not have families so she dedicated a part of her own home to welcome them in. She would cook meals and entertain them by playing piano, filling their final years with companionship and happiness.

Her husband, Professor Ananda Dulal Sarkar said: “Frances always cared for older people, and loved to welcome them into our home.

“She would cook meals and entertain them, creating a haven for them to relax and share their stories and memories, filling their twilight years with companionship and happiness.”

Professor Sarkar thought it fitting his late wife Frances, who passed away in July 2021, should be celebrated following her unwavering support to older people in Liverpool over the past 60 years, with his donation enabling the charity to open a new activity room ‘The Frances Suite’ in its Dale Street offices.

He added: “I’m delighted to be able to set something up in her memory and know it would mean a lot to her.’”

Jacinta Ashdown, CEO, Age Concern Liverpool and Sefton said:

“We are thrilled to be able to create a welcoming space for activities for older adults in Liverpool and hope that due to the location being central, more vulnerable older people will be able to revisit or take up new hobbies and join us for a chat over a cup of tea.”

“We continue to champion the needs of older adults in the local community and understand they need our support more than ever right now. We are humbled by the gifts and legacies we receive from people who have accessed our services over the years and were amazed to receive such a generous donation from Professor Sarkar.”

The Liverpool-based organisation was the first of its kind, being the first elderly-focused charity in the world, having been founded by the social pioneer, Eleanor Rathbone in 1928.

Jacinta Ashdown added: “His wife Frances did this work naturally, which fits in with the values of Age Concern. Being able to fund the room has made a huge difference to us as a charity. What that means is that we can welcome people who can drop in if they’re lonely or frightened. We’re here and that’s what we’re about, being supportive to our community and their needs.

“They are a forgotten population, and maybe they’ve lost relatives and friends so they don’t know where to turn when the natural community around them is no longer there. The elderly individuals are so isolated so they need to be welcomed back into society and to be brought back.”