Third Sector
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Councillors urged to join the Pride of Place campaign

New research shows too many local councillors are out of touch with older people.

New research shows that half of people over 60 have never had any contact with their local councillor, highlighting the huge challenge councillors face to reach out and make contact with older people.

The good news is that the research also shows when they are in contact with councillors, older people are more likely than younger age groups to think councillors do a good job. In a survey conducted by TNS on behalf of Age UK, 65 per cent of older people said they were satisfied with the contact, compared to just 57 per cent of 16-59 year olds. It also reveals more than four in ten people over 60 believe that local councillors are working to improve the community in ways that will benefit older people.

Pride of Place campaign

The new research coincides with the launch of Age UK’s Pride of Place campaign which is calling on local councillors to take the lead on improving neighbourhoods for people in later life. Many older people are prevented from getting out and about in their area due to barriers such as a lack of public transport, uneven pavements, access to public toilets or places to sit down. The campaign wants to work closely with councillors because they are uniquely placed to help resolve these issues.

The ‘Pride of Place’ report, published recently, outlines the unique role of councillors and explains how they can champion relatively low cost improvements to neighbourhoods to bring long term benefits. The campaign is inviting councillors to become Pride of Place advocates and work with Age UK on an on-going basis to improve neighbourhoods.

As part of the campaign, Age UK is encouraging older people across the country to send Pride of Place postcards to their local councillors outlining what they feel proud of and what they think needs improving in their neighbourhood.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK said: 'The quality of things like public transport and local services in their neighbourhoods make a huge difference in later life. Millions of older people can feel trapped in their homes, leading to loneliness, isolation or other health problems. In an ageing society with more over 60s than under 18s, it’s vital we invest in our neighbourhoods to ensure older people can go on being active and contribute to our communities for as long as possible.

'Through the Pride of Place campaign, Age UK wants to work with local councillors to engage with older people and drive forward the improvements they want to see in their neighbourhoods. We believe the new report makes essential reading for all councillors, especially for those starting their new terms of office and we hope they will show their commitment to older people by signing up to become a Pride of Place advocate.'

Giving the elderly a voice in Parliament: An interview with Rachael Maskell MP