Southwark Council Assembly on March 28 - Older People

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Wednesday 14 March 2012 5.49pm
Hello all. I'm community cohesion co-ordinator with Southwark Council and want to seek your views for our council assembly public debate on 'older people' at The Charter School, Red Post Hill, Dulwich, on Wednesday 28 March.

Councillors will be focusing on these four questions in particular:

How can the Council recognise the role that people in later life often play in their communities, through volunteering, caring, and by playing an active role in neighbourhood life?

How can people in Southwark take advantage of the wide variety of sporting, educational and social activities available as they get older?

How can the Council promote the greater role that more active grandparents play in their families' lives?

How can the Council work with the NHS and other partners to give older people more choice in the services they receive, enabling them to live healthy lives and stay in their own homes and communities for longer?


Your thoughts on these four questions are very welcome. These will be documented by me and chanelled to all councillors in advance of their themed debate, so that they are well informed of 'the voice of the people' on the matters for debate.

We did this for the January 2012 assembly debate on 'the environment' and the results gathered through discussion forums such as this were particularly useful. This is a summary of the views we gathered:

http://moderngov.southwarksites.com/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=26012

You can post your responses here or email them to democracy@southwark.gov.uk. We would need to have your views by Thursday 22 March at the latest. Your comments need not be very detailed. A few summary statements that capture your thoughts will be fine.

For background and further information you may find these links useful:

Democracy in Southwark: http://www.southwark.gov.uk/democracy

How council assembly works: http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/10058/about_southwark_council/445/how_decisions_are_made/2

Asking a public question: http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/10058/about_southwark_council/353/ask_a_question

Taking a deputation: http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/10058/about_southwark_council/354/taking_a_deputation

March 28 assembly: http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200348/democracy_commission/2256/next_assembly

Recent assemblies: http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200348/democracy_commission/2255/council_assembly_past_themes

Thanks for your interest in local democracy and I look forward to hearing from you,

Michael
Friday 23 March 2012 1.06pm
Hello again!

We seem to have had no response to this posting. There was a very substantial response to the last assembly-related appeal for views on environmental issues in January.

Can anyone shed some light on why this discussion thread doesn't seem to have generated the same level of interest?

Your views on that, and older people's issues, are most welcome.

The assembly is happening next Wednesday evening at The Charter School, Red Post Hill, in Dulwich. The main meeting (including the themed debate on 'older people') will be preceded by an hour-long informal session from 6pm. That will include performances by The Welcome Singers and Recycled Teenagers. The singers are members of Southwark Pensioners' Centre and Recycled Teenagers (great name!) are a dance group of older people who meet at Peckham Pulse weekly with their tutor, Carl Campbell. I went to one of their sessions recently and found it moving, in every sense of the word. It was inspiring to see older people still so active, involved, and in love with life.

Can we take a leaf from their book, or a step from their routine?

There's still a small time frame for your comments and views on the needs of older people. Today is the last day.

There's the four questions listed in my initial posting. Or perhaps these pointers:

What’s good about being an older person in Southwark?

What’s not so good?

What would older people like more of?

What would you like less of?

How can we make neighbourhoods good places to grow old in?

Are there ways in which society needs to change its attitudes to older people?


Come on SE1-ners!! Tell us the thoughts that surround you.

Michael
Friday 23 March 2012 7.34pm
Hi Michael,
at 52 (nearly 53) I think I'm one of the older people who posts here. I do feel older people tend to get overlooked, and often their services are the first to go when there are cuts to be made. When I started working in Southwark back in the early 80s there were lots of day centres, offering fellowship, cheap lunches and activities. Over the years these have been closed down. Now I'm advancing in years myself, I can see that a day centre wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea - it certainly wasn't my great-grandmother's idea of a good time! (she didn't much like other old people!)

however, I do feel there should be more activities in the borough that are aimed at old people - things like swimming sessions, book groups at the library, craft groups. Also, old people make great volunteers for all sorts of things - mentoring, teaching skills, and should be encouraged to volunteer in the many schemes available (things like Time and Talents)
Friday 23 March 2012 8.19pm
The old people in South Bermondsey I spoke to last night, (who are both upset and angry about the way they are being treated) tell me they feel unable to travel to Dulwich for an evening meeting. Consequently they won't be coming.
Friday 23 March 2012 10.49pm
graham wrote:
The old people in South Bermondsey I spoke to last night, (who are both upset and angry about the way they are being treated) tell me they feel unable to travel to Dulwich for an evening meeting.

Maybe because the 2012 Lib-Con budget has reduced their available travel budget?
Saturday 24 March 2012 5.59pm
Michael Cleere wrote:
Hello again!
We seem to have had no response to this posting. There was a very substantial response to the last assembly-related appeal for views on environmental issues in January.

Can anyone shed some light on why this discussion thread doesn't seem to have generated the same level of interest?

Your views on that, and older people's issues, are most welcome.

The assembly is happening next Wednesday evening at The Charter School, Red Post Hill, in Dulwich. The main meeting (including the themed debate on 'older people') will be preceded by an hour-long informal session from 6pm. That will include performances by The Welcome Singers and Recycled Teenagers. The singers are members of Southwark Pensioners' Centre and Recycled Teenagers (great name!) are a dance group of older people who meet at Peckham Pulse weekly with their tutor, Carl Campbell. I went to one of their sessions recently and found it moving, in every sense of the word. It was inspiring to see older people still so active, involved, and in love with life.

Can we take a leaf from their book, or a step from their routine?

There's still a small time frame for your comments and views on the needs of older people. Today is the last day.

There's the four questions listed in my initial posting. Or perhaps these pointers:

What’s good about being an older person in Southwark?

What’s not so good?

What would older people like more of?

What would you like less of?

How can we make neighbourhoods good places to grow old in?

Are there ways in which society needs to change its attitudes to older people?


Come on SE1-ners!! Tell us the thoughts that surround you.

Michael
This all sounds very patronising to older people, why has there only been a week or two to reply. Have you contacted local groups, churches, etc, talked to the elderly in person. Do you assume that elderly people are generally computer literate and have regular access to a computer and know about this excellent se-1 site, can you clarify who the questionaire is addressed to. Old folk get free travel, but I can understand their hesitation in travelling to an evening meeting.
Saturday 24 March 2012 6.06pm
Boss St Bloke, er no, I offered them lift, one of them drives even.
I think they've just got the largest increase in pensions since pensions started.
Sunday 25 March 2012 2.40pm
Auntie Pat! You think you're old??? I'm, SEVENTY TWO next birthday....I claim my crown!
Sunday 25 March 2012 5.30pm
Haha! hail Queen Jackie!
Sunday 25 March 2012 9.40pm
Dear 'nomad',

Life has taught me again, and again, to hold my assumptions lightly.

This is just one of a range of ways in which we're trying to actively engage with Southwark residents. We've also been having regular face to face meetings in a variety of group and individual settings and the results so far have been rich.

All will be reported in the dossier of community views which will be circulated to all councillors in advance of Wednesday's assembly and published for all to see thereafter.

Meanwhile, I can share this preview from a face to face conversation I had with a member of an SE1-based older people's group. I think it is a particularly powerful example of how isolated many older people are, and how it is often other older people who are their lifeline:

"I haven’t been here (day centre) for several months because my neighbour fell and she’s 85. I’ve been helping her because she has no relatives and is completely alone in the world.

I didn’t see her for two weeks during the snow last winter and I discovered that she had been taken into hospital during the night. I went to see her but they wouldn’t let me because I wasn’t a member of her family. I told them I wasn’t leaving without seeing her and in the end I did. I asked her, ‘Do you remember me?’ She cried and said, ‘Yes I do’.

I live on the ground floor in our block of flats and I told her how I baked bread and made soup and brought them up to her during the snow but there was no answer.

I also told her that I would come and see her again and that I would be there for her when she came home. Two weeks later she came home and she was crying, ‘I want my Mum, I want my Mum’.

I asked her had she any breakfast and she said no. I made some porridge and brought it up to her. Then I sat with her while she ate it and I noticed how cold the room was. I put on the heater and she fell fast asleep.

We have to look after one another, to know who my neighbour is. If I don’t know them, I will never miss them. We are our ‘brother’s keeper’ and that’s why I was helping her, until somebody phoned social services and she now has a carer. I have no idea how long I did it for because I didn’t count the days.'


I can add nothing more. But I hope others can.

Michael

PS I audio record my interviews with groups and individuals (with their permission). Hence the above verbatim account.
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