Over the last year Positive Ageing in London (PAIL) has
started to work as a regional forum on ageing, bringing together
older people’s organisations, other charities, service providers
and statutory bodies. By Gordon Deuchars, Age UK
PAIL is chaired by former senior alderman of the City of London David Shalit and brings together organisations such as Age UK London, Greater London Forum for Older People, LOPSG (London Older People’s Strategies Group), Contact the Elderly and older people’s advocacy body Advocacy Plus.
Third sector members which are not age-specific include London Advice Services Alliance (LASA) and London Sustainability Exchange.
On the statutory side, PAIL has been working closely with the DWP and increasingly with the Greater London Authority (GLA) which is now represented in PAIL. Several local authorities in London are also on PAIL’s mailing list. The Centre for Policy on Ageing brings in a research perspective. Vice-Chairs are Raj Jogia (Pepperpot Day Centre, Kensington & Chelsea) and Mervyn Eastman (Change Agents).
In autumn 2011 PAIL agreed to terms of reference committing it to making a real difference to the lives of older people by:
- Raising key issues affecting older people in London
- Feeding into London and national advisory forums and the Age Action Alliance
- Developing older peoples policy and voice for London
- Challenging for change
- Engaging, advocating and promoting older people in London
- Disseminating policy and practice
MODEL OF SUPPORT
Since then PAIL has held well attended meetings focussing on fuel poverty and on active ageing – including the model of support to activity emerging from Age UK’s national and regional Fit as a Fiddle programme. Another key area covered was the emerging housing needs of older people in London.
The Deputy Regional Director of the Department of Health led a
very useful session on the emerging changes in the NHS. PAIL also
began to make regular inputs into the London Mayor’s Forum on
Ageing, the UK Advisory Forum on Ageing and the Age Action
PAIL’s emerging work programme for 2012-13 includes a large-scale event looking at cooperative solutions to care needs, and “20-20 Vision” workshops on how older people and an intergenerational group would like to see London in the future.
The next two regular meetings (of which there are three a year) will follow ongoing threads of active ageing and cooperative approaches. In June PAIL is facilitating a session on “Growing older in London in 2020” at a large event organised by Age UK London, “Happy and Healthy in the Capital: Celebrating Older Londoners”.
Members have begun to receive a newsletter, and in autumn 2012 it is planned to hold an initial self-assessment exercise using a diagnostic tool to identify what is going well and what could be improved.
These are early days yet, but Positive Ageing in London is making a good start in bringing together different perspectives on ageing in London.
Our challenge will be to take this further and bring in an even wider range of voices from older people, the third sector, statutory bodies and others.