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The Centre for Ageing Better and Get
Yourself Active, at Disability Rights UK, have launched a new project today called 'Picture Yourself Active'.
SWSN Management Committee 2019-2020.
David Short, NC 50+ Alliance
Diane Gooch, Chairperson of WSUN,
Dilys Warren, GOPA,
Janet Royston, TUC Pensioners Committee.
Jim Kent, West Somerset Senior Forum
Joe Hui, CLP-BACWG
Ropshitz, Devon Prison Cluster
Loretta Whetlor. West Somerset Senior Forum.
Louise Rendle CEO of WSUN
Mark Poarch CEO of Brace
Margaret Coles, Devon Comunities Group
Neal Davies, Taunton U3A
Rosa Hui, BACWG
Lord Filkin, Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better, was warmly welcomed to conference on the Future of Ageing at the Clarke Willmott Conference Centre in Bristol on 28th January 2015. The Centre for Ageing Better aims to help many more people have a better later life by identifying evidence of what works and by encouraging change in line with this evidence. They are a charitable foundation, entirely independent from government and from business interests, with an anticipated lifespan of ten years. They are part of the network of What Works Centres. The Centre for Ageing Better has been endowed with £50 million by the Big Lottery Fund.
FURTHER PHOTOS ON GALLERY PAGE
Personal Blog By Brian Warwick
50,000 South West Seniors call for “Minister for the Ageing Society”
Article by Tony Watts
The body representing over 50,000 older people in the South West has called upon the main political parties to build into their election manifestos the creation of a new ministerial post to deal with the challenges and opportunities of our rapidly ageing society.
The South West Seniors Network SWSN has also prioritized new laws to provide greater safeguarding from abuse for frail, older people and changes to the tax system which currently penalize those with modest pensions.
“We will shortly be heading into the next election,” said Brian Warwick, Chair of the SWSN, “and at our AGM we asked our members for their priorities. Every political party is well aware of the power of the ‘grey vote’ – there are over 14.5 million people aged 60 and above in this country, most of whom vote, and we are looking to engage with the main parties on the policies that would win their support.
“What came over loud and clear is that older people are not looking for anything that treats them unfairly compared to the rest of society, or for anything that is unaffordable or unrealistic. We recognize that other parts of society are being ‘squeezed’ too.”
One of the main concerns of seniors in the West is the failure of this Government to appoint a Minister with an overarching responsibility for policies relating to older people. “The 2013 House of Lords report on our Ageing Society highlighted the fact that the Government was totally unprepared for a society where people are living much longer than any previous generation.
“This has massive implications for our health service, the way we provide and fund care, our housing needs in the years ahead, how we afford retirement, the need to invest in more public transport, extending working lives… a whole raft of issues,” says Mr Warwick. “You simply cannot deal with these issues in isolation on a departmental basis – which is what is happening at the moment.
“Every day we hear of cut backs in one department which lead to problems being created elsewhere. In particular, decisions taken by the NHS without adequate consultation frequently impact upon the quality of life of individuals and load significant costs onto Local Authorities - who are at the sharp end dealing with many of the care and support needs.
“Cut backs in public transport are leaving whole communities isolated – and social isolation and loneliness have been proven to have major negative health impacts. The list goes on.
“We know budgets have to be cut, but we have to stop this silo thinking which actually leads to money being wasted. Only a Minister for an Ageing Society, in close touch with older people themselves, would have that ability to look at the whole picture and make departments co-ordinate their efforts – and so saving public money as well as improving services.”
The seniors in the region have also called for changes which would provide greater safeguarding for vulnerable adults living in care. “At the moment we have the nonsensical situation where someone living in care provided by the local authority has a greater level of protection and more human rights than those paying for their own care. How can that possibly be right?” demands Mr Warwick.
“We also want all the parties to make clear what their policies will be on current benefits available to older people – especially bus passes and winter fuel allowance. The gap between seniors on low incomes and the rest of the community is also widening, especially those below the tax threshold who received very little help in the recent budget.
“Above all,” said Mr Warwick, “what we want to see put in place are policies and strategies that will help tomorrow’s older people too.”
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