A TEAM of community leaders has set about championing older people’s concerns in the community.
More than a dozen councillors have signed up to be representatives for charity Age UK’s Pride of Place campaign, aimed at beating the on-street snags and transport gripes which make their life harder.
Alan Patchett, director of Age UK Sunderland, said 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 just simply places to sit down.
He said councillors were well placed to help resolve these issues and enable older people to continue playing a fulfilling role in their community, and is delighted 16 city councillors have signed up to be Pride of Place advocates for Sunderland.
“It’s vital that we invest in our neighbourhoods to ensure older people can go on being active and contribute to our communities for as long as possible – after all we now have more over-60s than under-18s,” he said.
“We are really pleased that these councillors have joined us as Pride of Place advocates. They will be working with us and with older people locally to improve the neighbourhoods in this area. Together, we can make a real difference.”
Mr Patchett said Age UK Sunderland and Sunderland City Council has the highest number of councillors registered as Pride of Place advocates in the campaign nationally, which he said is something for which Sunderland could be justly proud.
Councillor Barry Curran, who represents the St Peter’s ward, said: “I think the idea of Pride of Place advocates is wonderful. Working with the local councillors we can jointly improve the community.”
St Michael’s councillor Peter Wood added: “I’m delighted to have this opportunity to work with local older people in St Michael’s ward and hopefully be able to bring about some improvements to the neighbourhoods in the area.”
Age UK is also sponsoring the Age UK Pride of Place award, as part of the 2012 LGiU and CCLA Councillor Achievement awards.
The award will be given to a councillor who has taken a lead in championing the voices of older people in their patch and made a real commitment to improving neighbourhoods for them. This might be by getting a new bus stop, providing seating, or finding funds for a small regeneration project.
Mr Patchett said: “We want every older person to live in a neighbourhood where they feel safe and confident to go out – and we think that councillors who do their best to bring such neighbourhoods about deserve our praise.”
Anyone wishing to nominate councillors for doing an excellent job on improving neighbourhoods can contact Maxine Errington at Age UK Sunderland on 514 1131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For more information about the Pride of Place campaign go to www.ageuk.org.uk/prideofplace
THE 16 councillors to have signed up as Pride of Place advocates in Sunderland are:
Council leader Paul Watson, Pallion; Deputy Tory leader Peter Wood, St Michael’s; Rosalind Copeland, Southwick; Neville Padgett, Washington East; Diane Snowdon, Washington Central; Linda Williams, Washington Central; Lilian Walton, St Peter’s; Stephen Bonallie, St Peter’s; Barry Curran, St Peter’s; Stuart Porthouse, St Chad’s; Alan Wright, St Chad’s; Debra Waller, Sandhill; Dave Allan, Sandhill; Alan Emerson, Ryhope; Paul Dixon, Millfield; Thomas Wright, St Anne’s.