A Manifesto for growing old well in Newcastle upon Tyne
The fact that we are all living longer, mostly healthier, lives is having a significant impact on our city. As older citizens we have a role to play in making sure that Newcastle upon Tyne is a place where people can grow up, live their lives and grow old with good health and positive wellbeing throughout. Older people are a great asset to their communities and to the city itself. We act as carers for family and friends; we are the largest volunteering group; many pay taxes; and all contribute to the economy of the city in a variety of ways.
Since the Elders Council was first launched more than a decade ago we older people have worked to improve the lives of all older people in the city; we are committed to continue with this work and this statement sets out what we think the older people of the city can do. We are the “voice” of older people in the city:
• We will be active contributors in making Newcastle an age friendly city: by using our experience and skills: by developing our capacity to understand issues and create solutions: by engaging in research to help our understanding of people’s experiences and needs. We will use the evidence we gather to work with partners in designing a city with amenities and services appropriate to an ageing population.
• We will promote positive images of older people and challenge negative stereotypes. We will expect to be treated with dignity and respect
• We will continue to encourage people to plan ahead, and think about the changes they could make to give them the best chance of being able to live well, safely and independently at home.
• We will continue to encourage older people to adopt a positive attitude to ageing, promoting key messages about how we can maintain our own health and wellbeing, whilst being willing to accept help when it is needed.
• We will foster and support schemes which provide opportunities for older people to develop and maintain social connections and offer mutual support.
• We will help to ensure that older people are well informed about how to access health and care services and use them appropriately. We will actively contribute to the design of services to better meet the needs of an ageing population.
• We will lobby to keep our free bus pass, which is essential to our independence as well as bringing economic value to communities. We will continue to work for an integrated, good public transport system
• We will strive to develop opportunities for people to learn and maintain their digital skills, so that they continue to stay connected, informed and are able to access work opportunities and services more easily.
• We will continue to inspire and enable older people to be active in their local communities and the life of the city. We will continue to work towards 20 minute neighbourhoods.
• We will promote the wide range of cultural, leisure and learning opportunities available and encourage older people to participate.
Would you like to be part of an exciting project to design housing for people of all ages that will stand the test of time? We are looking for lively minded people aged 50+ to participate in workshops where you will work alongside architects and other experts to help design brand new demonstration housing. The plan is to locate the new housing next to Science Central.
This is a really ambitious project and the final designs will incorporate new ways of thinking about housing design; energy systems and technology.
The workshops will be informal. You don’t need to be a specialist! You DO need to have an enquiring mind and to be willing to talk and listen share your ideas.
Elders Council of Newcastle is privileged to be a partner in this ground breaking project. Future Homes Newcastle is a partnership of organisations who are leaders in their field. We have come together to test out new ideas which we believe will influence housing design worldwide.
Don’t miss this opportunity to join us on this unique and exciting journey. Places are limited and preference will be given to people who are able to attend the following workshop:
• Monday 25 September 2.00–4.30pm
The workshop will be held in a city centre venue. Transport can be provided if required.
To apply, please complete the attached application form (click here).
For further information contact [email protected] or call 0191 208 2701.
Making our city a great place to grow old in
Over the last few years, the Elders Council has been working to create opportunities for older people to meet others and take part in interesting and sometimes challenging activities. The reason we have made this an important part of our work is because evidence shows that people who have strong networks of friends and family, and who take part in social activities, enjoy a happier and healthier older age.
Through our small grants programme, Staying Connected, we have supported over 40 groups to try out a new activity. We have held events where the groups that received the funding have come together to share what they have done. We have now published a report on our Staying Connected programme which tells the story of what we did and what we have learned along the way. The report is available - click here.
Reflecting on what we have learned from Bridging the Gaps, Staying Connected and the small research project we did on ‘Growing older in my home and neighbourhood’, we wanted to continue this work by having conversations with older people in different parts of the city. We applied to Awards for All (Big Lottery Fund) and were successful in receiving funding to enable us to host community conversations in five areas of the city.
It wasn't easy trying to decide which areas of the city to work in, but after weighing up a number of different factors, we selected the following areas: Cowgate, Kenton Bar, Montagu, Dinnington and Chapel House. We engaged with older people living in these areas in planning how and when we held the conversations.
To hear more about the conversations and our findings, please refer to the reports below:
We also commissioned an evaluation of this work, which was conducted by Moyra Riseborough, Consultant. Please refer to the report below:
EVERYONE’S TOMORROW – TODAY!
The Elders Council radio programme broadcast on 102.5fm
on the first Friday of every month from 2 to 4pm.
Our programme on Friday 3 February had as its theme the benefits of music for older people, both as participants and as listeners. First, talking together about participation are Ann Ridley and Ann Graham. Click here to hear what was said,
Next, Neville Harris came into the studio to read his poem Cause and effect. Then Ann Ridley read her short story Play “Misty” for me.
Annette Hames, the manager of the Byker respite centre, came into the studio to talk with Ann Ridley about the benefits of music for those living with dementia.
The Elders Council, together with WEA, recently organised a six-week course about civic engagement called Active Voices and an Elders Council trustee was asked to take part. She reflects on her experience:
“I must admit that I didn't really have a clue as to what I was signing up for, but I am really glad I did. This was an amazing course which covered just about everything I needed to know in my role as a volunteer at various organisations (although I hadn't even realised it!).
“The sessions covered power (who has it, how to use it, etc.) and how to do research or complete a project – both subjects chosen by us, covered from planning to completion. There was even a session covering the press and media, very useful as in these days of austerity you never know when you might need to call on them with help to raise funds or advertise your event.
“The hope is that this course will roll out across the city (I know that there are already plans to hold one in Byker). So if you get the chance to go on one, please grab the opportunity – I can promise that you won't regret it.”
Note: The Elders Council is planning to deliver more Active Voices courses in the next few months. If you are interested in participating please email [email protected] .