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Celebrating Ten Years of Speaking up for Older People

Celebrating Ten Years of Speaking up for Older People

Help the Aged has kicked off a celebration of ten years of Speaking Up for Older Age forums in the West Midlands with a conference hosted by Midlands Today presenter Nick Owen.

The Charity hopes that anniversary activities like this will encourage more older people in the area to think of joining their local forum in order to have a say about the things in their community that really matter to them.

There are around 400 of forums in the UK with around 100,000 members. Forums generally focus on the important issues affecting older people in the local area, including influencing decision-makers about the planning and provision of local, regional and national services that impact on everyday lives.

In the West Midlands, there are 45 forums, in areas such as Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. A snapshot of some of the successes and activities of West Midland forums includes:

  • a successful campaign by the Wolverhampton Over 50s Forum to re-open public toilets in various areas of Wolverhampton;

  • the high profile campaigning work of the North Staffs National Pensioner Convention over a range of issues such as the closure of post offices and day care centres, and the high levels of hospital acquired infections in North Staffordshire; and

  • the launch of a pilot project by the Pershore and District Older People’s Forum to provide live entertainment and therapeutic activities to older people in care homes.

All members are volunteers and all forums are run by members. As well as their campaigning efforts, many forums have social activities, run trips and hold open meetings, helping to break down isolation by providing opportunities for members to socialise, meet new people and keep in touch with local news.

Kath Smith, Help the Aged Midlands Director, said: “Older people’s voices are often ignored by local authorities when they are planning services that then directly affect these age groups. This is why nurturing active and lively forums is one of the best ways to get them heard.”; Source: Help the Aged

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