Equal rights group for older people

OLD people in Suffolk are today joining forces on a new board to protect the rights of the ageing population as equal citizens.

ELDERLY people in Suffolk are today joining forces on a new board to protect the rights of the ageing population as equal citizens.

A partnership group of mainly older people has been set up to keep an eye on health care, social care, public transport, housing, job opportunities and rural isolation issues for the older population.

The Suffolk Older People's Strategic Partnership Board has 30 members. Twenty are elected representatives of older people's organisations from across the county. Other members are nominated officers from the health service and county, district and borough councils.

Daphne Savage, of Age Concern Suffolk, is the chairman of the board. She said: “The establishing of this board is an important and long overdue step towards supporting and enabling older people to enjoy full participation in our local communities.

“Together we want to provide a strong voice for older people, particularly those who experience frailty and poverty.

“We will maintain the basic right of all older people to be treated as equal citizens. We will want to ensure that the contribution of older people to our wider society is acknowledged and valued. We will insist on both active and more vulnerable older people having much greater choice in, and control over, their lives and in influencing decisions that affect them.”

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Suffolk County councillor Graham Newman, responsible for adult and community services, said: “Older people's views and priorities will now be clearly established, and they will have a major influence on councils and the health service particularly.

“I hope the work of the board will also stimulate more older people to get directly involved in all sorts of local organisations.”

The Board will meet up to six times a year. It will then represent its views to bodies which control much of the national budget coming into Suffolk for older people's services.

It will also promote the independence, choice and well-being of older people and champion individual rights and actively promote anti-discriminatory practice.

Do you think older people in the county are listened to by service providers? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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