This week is Meals on Wheels Week, a great initiative that brings the care sector together to raise awareness about the importance of Meals on Wheels services.
No one should doubt the importance of Meals on Wheels. Since 1943, the year of its introduction, the service has always played an integral role in the care of the elderly and most vulnerable in society.
Today, we launched our Agenda for Later Life 2015 report, Age UK’s annual assessment of how public policy is meeting the needs of older people. Here, Jane Vass, Head of Public Policy, discuss the findings of the report in light of the upcoming Spending Review.
In the run up to what is likely to be one of the most challenging Spending Reviewsof recent times, Agenda for Later Life, Age UK’s annual audit of how public policy is meeting the needs of our ageing population, highlights that older people are increasingly being thrown back on their own resources, as the public services on which they rely are being scaled back or withdrawn.
This week we have a blog post from Mervyn Kohler, Special Adviser, at Age UK.
Even before the Scottish referendum campaign, there was a growing surge of interest in more devolution. It is a theme supported by all of the political parties. It is presented as the most promising way to get appropriate policies and practices implemented across areas and communities with widely varying needs, and also as a key to local economic regeneration and growth.
The early days of the Coalition were characterised by an enthusiasm for localism and the Big Society, and the burst of legislative activity linked to this was in some respects the harbinger of the deeper devolution idea. Conservative distain for ‘big government’ and Liberal instincts for local democracy came together serendipitously. We had local government given a ‘general power of competence’, and neighbourhoods were empowered to develop local plans (to address spatial planning and planning permission issues) and eventually to draw up neighbourhood or community budgets. We have the Community Right to Challenge (for the delivery of public services), the Community Right to Build (if approved by a local referendum), and the Right to Bid for community assets. Continue reading “A political certainty in 2015? From Localism to Devolution”
As part of the LGiU and CCLA C’llr awards, Age UK sponsors an award to recognise Councillors who support older people in their local community.
This year the winner was Cllr Janet Burgess from Islington council.
Janet has been a vocal advocate for Islington’s older people throughout her time as a Councillor. Her main achievements include establishing the council’s first Older People’s Champions giving older people a high profile voice within the Council, fighting to provide free swimming for over 60s in all Islington council funded leisure centres and defending the £100 council tax discount for all pensioner households who pay council tax.
Through her efforts lobbying the Mayor of London and Transport for London, she saved the 812 PlusBus – a ‘hail and ride’ service used mainly by older people to take them to the shops.
Her efforts to tackle fuel poverty, an issue that disproportionately affects Islington’s older residents, has seen Cllr Burgess co-lead a delegation of pensioners to City Hall to campaign on the issue.
This guest blog was contributed by Josephine Suherman, Policy Researcher at the LGiU
The LGiU and CCLA C’llr Achievement Awards aim to recognise and reward those councillors who go over and above what is expected of them; councillors who show absolute dedication to their communities and make positive change happen in the lives of local people.
This was the fifth year of the awards, and was kindly sponsored by Age UK for the third year running.
We were very pleased to partner with the charity once again on the awards and particularly the Age UK award category. The Age UK award is given to councillors who make time to listen to older people in their ward by actively engaging with them and understanding issues of concern, make change happen on issues of concern to older people, and has made an on-going commitment to ensuring that any improvements are maintained in the long term and that older people continue to be engaged in local democracy.
Do you know who your councillor is? Councillors are elected by all of us and can have a big impact on our community, but do we appreciate and acknowledge what they do?
Councillors really can have a huge impact on our communities. They are key players when coordinating people from the public, private, and voluntary sectors and they can provide a voice for those who would otherwise go unheard.
In recognition of this important role, Age UK is working with the Local Government and Information Unit (LGiU) to sponsor the Age UK Councillor Award as part of the2013 C’llr Achievement Awards.
The Age UK award will be given to a councillor who has made a significant contribution to improving services or neighbourhoods in the area they represent, so as to benefit older people. It could be campaigning for better lighting, arranging more seating or increasing the number of public toilets. Continue reading “Does your councillor deserve an award?”
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 Programmebegan 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 Peopleprogramme 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.