A route out of loneliness

A rural busIn this guest blog post, Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, argues that the provision of accessible affordable public transport must be a priority.

Continue reading “A route out of loneliness”

And the winner is…

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.

Continue reading “And the winner is…”

Guest blog – The LGiU and CCLA C’llr Achievement Awards

This guest blog was contributed by Josephine Suherman, Policy Researcher at the LGiU

Cllr Janet Burgess from the London Borough of Islington won the Age UK award

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.

Continue reading “Guest blog – The LGiU and CCLA C’llr Achievement Awards”

Is your councillor a star?

Do you know an amazing councillor? Have they worked hard to listen to older people and improve their neighbourhood? Do they deserve recognition for their work?

Nominations are now open for the Age UK award which forms part of the LGiU and CCLA C’llr Achievement Awards 2013. This is an award for Councillors who have put older people at the heart of their work, bringing about long lasting change for older people in their communities.

Last year’s winner was Councillor Olwen Foggin of Devon County Council who was nominated after her tireless work reinstating a much needed bus route to the local hospital, fighting the closure of a post box that would have meant that older people needed to walk further to the nearest post office, and responding to individual concerns raised by older residents. Continue reading “Is your councillor a star?”

Guest blog – Working together to curb the cold weather

This guest blog was contributed by the Age Action Alliance

Last week, a new kind of partnership came of age at Age UK.  The Age Action Alliance – the network for partnership working and practical action to improve later life – celebrated its first anniversary with a ‘winter warmth’ themed Parliamentary reception.

It is just over a year since the Cabinet’s Social Justice Committee asked Age UK to help promote cross sector collaborative action on ageing, providing joint Secretariat with the Department for Work and Pensions. The Alliance is a vehicle to develop society’s response to demographic change, encouraging collaboration and recognising that there are areas where systemic success cannot be achieved by any single sector or organisation. Over 260 organisations are now members of this unique network. Continue reading “Guest blog – Working together to curb the cold weather”

Police and Crime Commissioners

In terms of elections, this week’s chance to vote for Police and Crime Commissioners in your local police force area may not be up there with deciding the next leader of the free world, but in their own way the elections are significant.

This will be the first time that voters will have had the opportunity to elect Commissioners, who will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their area. Apart from London, where the Mayor has taken on the powers of a Commissioner, every police force in England and Wales will gain a new elected leader.

Crime is a major cause of concern to older people and fear of crime can increase isolation. But there is also evidence that older victims often experience ill health and reduced wellbeing, particularly if they are subjected to crimes such as distraction burglaries, which often target older people.

Photo: elliott.bledsoe (Creative Commons)

At present, older people’s experiences and views do not adequately inform crime reduction, so if Police and Crime Commissioners are to ensure their community safety and crime reduction services tackle crime affecting older people, they need to take time to find out their views and act on them. Continue reading “Police and Crime Commissioners”

Councillors achieving Pride of Place

Last week the shortlist was announced by the LGiU for the Age UK Pride of Place Award. The award, which is one of the LGiU and CCLA C’llr Achievement Awards 2012, recognises a councillor who has taken the lead in championing the voices of older people in their patch and made a real commitment to improving neighbourhoods for them.

The shortlisted councillors are:

  • Councillor Sue Cooley (Manchester City Council)
  • Councillor Edward Davie (London Borough of Lambeth Council)
  • Councillor Olwen Foggin (Devon County Council)
  • Councillor Robert Johnston (Winchester City Council)
  • Councillor Howard Murray (Poynton Town Council)

Each of them, in very different ways and very different areas, has shown real commitment to listening to the views and needs of older people and then bringing about long-term change to their areas.

As I have highlighted on this blog over the last year, good neighbourhoods are key to helping older people get out and about and stay active as they get older. Things like broken pavements, street lights which don’t work, and public transport which isn’t accessible or available at all, place barriers in the way of people who want to stay active as they grow older.

The key insight of Age UK’s Pride of Place campaign is that local elected members have a pivotal role to play in bringing about neighbourhood improvements. They are the only people with both the local knowledge and the democratic accountability.

Through the campaign, nearly 200 councillors have demonstrated their commitment to improving neighbourhoods by signing up as Pride of Place advocates. 

This week we also held the first of five support sessions for these advocates. It was a lively session where we exchanged ideas and wrestled with problems such as how to provide accessible public toilets in the current financial climate and how to influence public transport providers. A recurrent theme was the importance of getting communities involved in solving their own problems.

The good news in all this is that change is possible – as the five shortlisted councillors show, improvements can happen. The award winner will be announced at a ceremony at Westminster City Council on 27 February: watch this space.

And if you are a councillor who wants to bring about improvements to your local area, why not sign up as a Pride of Place advocate now?

Find out more about Age UK’s Pride of Place campaign