We have heard a lot lately from various politicians about the need to examine the universal benefits received by older people and in particular the concessionary bus pass. It seems that in the age of austerity, even something that has been so successful and proved so popular, is subject to review.
But it is not just the threat from government to withdraw the bus pass from all but the poorest, there is also the threat to bus funding from the imminent spending review. Cuts to bus services will hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.
Older and disabled people have hugely benefited from free bus travel and often rely on public transport to do their shopping, get to their GP and hospital appointments and visit friends. Continue reading
Posted in Transport, Communities and inclusion, Money Matters, Government, Public Policy
Tagged Government & society, Money & benefits, older people, Age UK, transport, ageing society, isolation, money matters, Ageing, ageing population, rural living, Age UK blog, universal benefits, public transport, loneliness, Government, bus pass, free bus travel, the impact on older people of cuts to rural bus services, rural issues, rural ageing, bus cuts
This blog was contributed by David Terrace, Energy Programme Manager, at Age UK.
One cannot escape from the scrutiny on fuel poverty this winter, and rightly so, it’s an epidemic. However, one element of fuel poverty that is often ignored is the plight of those in rural, off-mains gas areas. For Age UK, this is particularly important as there is twice the percentage of retired people in rural areas than urban, and there are around 1.5million older people living off the gas grid.
So what we are doing about? During the cold winter we highlighted the issues that are facing older, isolated people in rural areas. Age UK achieved this through considerable press coverage with articles appearing in the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph. This raised awareness of older people in terrible housing stock, paying a great deal more for their heating but not receiving the help that they need.
There was more to do than just talk about it, it needed tangible action. The spark was provided by the Department of Energy and Climate change announcing its Cheaper Energy Together fund in November. We knew we had to the opportunity to ‘show not tell’ on rural fuel poverty, albeit with a very short timescale (start in January, finish before Easter!) Continue reading
Posted in Communities and inclusion, Energy, Income, Spread the Warmth campaign
Tagged #energybills, #spreadthewarmth, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Cheaper Energy Together, collective oil purchasing, Department of Energy and Climate, energy, fuel poverty, heating, isolation, living off the gas grid, older people, rural fuel poverty, rural living, Spread the Warmth campaign, winter, winter deaths
This blog was contributed by Sue Cooley from Manchester City Council, the winner of the Age UK award category of the LGiU Councillor Achievement Awards. This award recognises the achievements of a councillor who has championed the interests of older people in their community.
I have been a councillor since 1996 representing Brooklands ward in the city of Manchester. My role as lead member for Valuing Older People (VOP) and more recently the Age Friendly Manchester Programme began in the last years of the 1990s. At that time I worked closely with the then deputy leader of the council to develop an approach which said that the role of local authorities shouldn’t begin and end with its social care responsibilities, recognising that the vast majority of older residents -however we define them, do not get a social care services. Moreover, especially in a city like Manchester, many older people faced exclusion from a range of everyday services and activities.
This approach found an echo in the Better Government for Older People programme championed by the Labour Government in the late 1990s. When ground breaking research into ageing in cities (including Manchester) was published in 2002 it coincided with the council’s new project called Valuing Older People which was launched officially in 2003.
Since then VOP has grown from a modest project based in the Manchester Joint Health Unit to a wide ranging programme acknowledged as being innovative but at the same time rooted in Manchester communities. Continue reading
Posted in Campaigning, Communities and inclusion, Local government
Tagged #localgov, @CllrAwards, Age Friendly Cities, Age Friendly Manchester Programme, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Better Government for Older People, campaigning, Councillor award winner, Councillors, Global Age Friendly Cities Network, LGiU, LGiU C’llr awards winner, Local government, Manchester, Manchester City Council, older people, Public Health Manchester, Sue Cooley, Valuing Older People (VOP)