Age UK held our Age Champions Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons last Monday. Despite our event coinciding with one of the most eventful days in Parliament in recent years, we were delighted that over 50 MPs and Peers were able to attend and help to celebrate the achievements of our Age Champions, and hear about what actions they could take to make the UK a great place to grow older.
A number of Local Partners and older people also joined us and had the opportunity to speak to Parliamentarians about the issues that matter most to them and other older people in their local area.
During the event those in attendance heard from three speakers, including the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, The Rt Hon Stephen Crabb, who commented that it was “great to see Age UK building a coalition of Age Champion MPs”. He added that he was optimistic his department could embrace the “seismic demographic changes in society” and that it was important we value the skills and experience older workers bring to the workplace. He also urged everyone to listen to older people and celebrate our longer lives and the opportunities they bring for us as individuals and as a society.
Penny Pullinger, Chief Officer of Age UK South Lakeland, described how she was working to prevent loneliness in her area, commenting that society did not realise the profound effect loneliness has on older people, and that you did not have to live on your own to feel lonely, in fact many carers reported feelings of loneliness. She explained the work her organisation’s Testing Promising Approaches Loneliness programme was doing.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director, also addressed the event outlining the work that Age UK and its partners do in communities across the country to help and support older people. She called for Parliamentarians to continue speaking up for older people and drew attention to the difficulties faced by people in midlife who have to juggle working with caring for a loved one.
Over 100 MPs have now signed up to be an Age Champion. You can find out more and see the list here.
We have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from MPs and Peers who were able to attend – so we would like to send out a big ‘Thank You’ to all who helped make the event such a success!