Category Archives: Campaigning

General Election Series: Our election journey

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Liz (pictured right) speaks to Liz Kendall, who represented the Labour party at the Age UK Rally

 

On polling day the last blog from our General Election Series is a guest post from Age UK Sunderland. It charts their journey from the Age UK Rally in London to their local hustings in Sunderland. 

For us here at Age UK Sunderland, the run up to the General Election has been hectic – we’ve been involved in national campaigns, and things a little closer to home, all with the aim of making sure whoever represents us in the next Parliament helps to make this a great place to grow older.

Our election journey really began on a chilly morning in late March, when I, and five older people, boarded the 6.45am train to London from Sunderland.

Age UK Rally 

We spent the day at Age UK’s Rally – along with 250 older people – listening to representatives from the five main political parties and explaining how they would improve the lot of older people if they were successful on polling day.

It was a unique opportunity to get our points across – two of our contingent posed their questions to the speakers, whilst another spent her lunch break chatting with one of the speakers about the issues which are hitting older people hardest.

The sense of purpose in the room was palpable – the conversations didn’t stop over the breaks, and we gained as much from chatting with our fellow activists and peers, as we did from hearing from the speakers.

Local hustings event 

We returned to Sunderland pleased to have been lucky enough to attend the rally and be directly involved- but for me, our day in London was only the beginning.

Two weeks later we held a local hustings event, which saw the five main parties’ candidates field questions from a more intimate group of 20 local people.

A whole range of issues were discussed: from universal benefits for older people, to the state of health and social care for those in later life.

BBC Look North sent a representative to ask the audience ‘is it worth voting at the Election?’ This sparked a debate about voter apathy and turnout, which was televised later along with a mock election.

Election debate in Gateshead 

Following this media appearance, we’ve also sent members of our network to an election debate held in Gateshead just a week before the election.

There has been opportunity after opportunity for our members to get involved, from the events I’ve described to the campaign postcard which allows older people to write directly to their candidates for free.

As a result, it’s been a really rewarding campaign, with huge levels of involvement. It is obvious to me that the people of Sunderland are passionate about making our area, and the UK, a great place to grow older. Let’s hope the next Parliament feels the same.

Today, we will all vote to choose our future MPs and the next UK Government. It’s vital that once elected our politicians act on the issues that affect older people, today and tomorrow. Ask your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to become Age Champions

 

General Election Series: Making a (huge) contribution

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This week’s blog from our General Election Series highlights the significant role older people play in society. Our ambition for the next Parliament is a world where everyone can participate in society and be valued for their contribution. 

Older people make a huge contribution to society, going well beyond what is widely recognised. Age UK has previously estimated that all the work, caring and volunteering done by the over 65s adds up to a huge contribution of £61 billion to the economy.

But it’s about far more than just the hard economic value – being able to take an active part in society can make a huge difference to the lives of older people themselves, their friends and relatives, and everyone else too.

It is therefore extremely important that this contribution is fully recognised, and to make sure that barriers preventing people engaging in their community, accessing local services or going online, are tackled, so that everyone who chooses to do so can participate. Continue reading

‘His Name is Charles’ – new campaign film about human rights for older people

Human rights can provide people with a way to challenge degrading or abusive treatment and provide a framework for compassionate and dignified care. This week we have launched a new campaign film to get people talking about human rights for older people.

Sadly it’s a fact that increasing numbers of older people are reporting physical abuse and neglect; ill treatment that is happening at the hands of the people who are supposed to care for them. Last year the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) reported a 20% rise in allegations of abuse, with more than a third of those cases taking place in care homes. Continue reading

General Election Series: Vote later life in 2015

 

Age UK pre-election rally for older people at QEII Hall Westminster with political party MP's

This week’s blog from our General Election Series highlights the key policy commitments from the party’s manifestos that are relevant to older people. This post was contributed by Hannah Pearce, joint Head of Public Affairs, at Age UK. 

I’m not sure what the collective noun is for a collection of manifestos but we were certainly hit by a flurry of thick wads of paper this week. The parties have finally pinned their colours to the mast and published their manifestos – which have been met with varying degrees of enthusiasm and cynicism. And we’re now in the last leg of what has felt like a long election campaign, with voting day less than 3 weeks away in what’s been termed the most unpredictable election in a generation.

Age UK wouldn’t dream of advising people about how to vote – indeed we’re rightly prohibited by charity and election law from doing so. However we are very keen to engage voters in the election and specifically to encourage people to question the parties and their local candidates about their plans to make this country ‘a great place to grow older’. A few months ago Age UK launched our own manifesto with a wide range of ideas and proposals explaining how this could be achieved. Continue reading