A WELL-KNOWN Poole charity which supports elderly people has been saved from collapse by a merger with a larger charitable organisation.

The name Age Concern Poole will disappear after 32-years but thanks to Dorset based Prama, its work will continue.

"Prama is the answer to our prayers," said Thelma Green, Age Concern Poole trustee and manager who has been involved with the charity for 30 years.

Started by the late Doris Webster in 1983 when she was a Poole councillor, Age Concern Poole has a shop at Ashley Cross, Parkstone, volunteers run eight successful pop-in centres for elderly people, the Buss Bus provides transport for outings every day of the year except Christmas and New Year and there is an office at Old Rope Walk, Hamworthy.

"All of this will continue," said Jeff Russell, chief executive officer of Prama which provides home care and helps elderly people remain independent.

"The positive angle is the activities that Age Concern have been renowned for are being sustained and will continue to be developed by Prama," he said.

He pointed out that when Age Concern Wimborne got into trouble this summer, it folded and closed a day centre. In Poole with ageing trustees and financial concerns it was clear the charity could not continue as it was, he said.

"Prama is keen to develop its services and we see this as a great opportunity for increasing support for older people in Poole."

He said the three part-time and one full time staff member's jobs were safe and they would continue to support the 100 volunteers and 200 people through the clubs.

Thelma said: "Really and truly it's a continuation of Age Concern - it's just a new name, Prama."

She said the trustees interviewed a number of charities and Prama was the best fit. "They have definitely saved the charity."

Although she has retired from running the office, she still runs the Longfleet pop-in which is 24 strong with a waiting list. "A lot of people come from blocks of flats and some really are lonely. They love coming on a Monday."

The dissolution of Age Concern Poole and the merger with Prama is subject to the agreement of the Charitable Commission. Age UK nationally supports the merger.