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London’s silver economy

By 2050, estimates suggest that people aged over 65 will outnumber children under five. This is creating a new and powerful consumer class, and presents new opportunities for life-long work and employment – a new silver economy.

The Mayor of London’s draft plan for an inclusive and growing economy is currently out for consultation. But does the plan harness the potential of London’s growing silver economy?

Positive Ageing bought together older Londoners, along with businesses and the third sector to to discuss how the mayor’s new economic strategy supports older working people.

5 presentations on older workers & employment…

We’re pleased to share the five presentations from the event, please click to download:

Challenges for older Londoners in a post-Brexit Britain

Last week Chris Walsh joined a group of retired trade unionists for a discussion on Brexit and the rights of older workers. The meeting, with the London and South East TUC Retired members, was a continuation of the work Positive Ageing in London and partners have been doing to raise the concerns and challenges facing older people in a post-Brexit Britain.

Common ground for concern

Positive Ageing believes that regardless of whether people voted Remain or Leave, there is common ground for concern; The rights and protections older people currently have under EU law – rights as workers, as consumers, as members of the public, as well as rights which protect our environment – may get watered down. This is why Positive Ageing in London support a Bill of Rights which will enshrine older people’s rights under the EU into British law.

Partnership working

The discussion also explored how Positive Ageing can develop partnerships to improve the lot of pensioners and older workers in a post-Brexit Britain. Chris hopes to continue this work on age equality with Trade Unions, to further protect the rights of older working people.

See our previous work on Brexit

Digital Inclusion Conference


The  Mayor of London is currently developing a new Smart London Plan. This will set out how he plans to deliver better digital services, increase digital inclusion and improve cyber-security. It will also show how he plans to use technology to deliver his economic, environment, and transport strategies.

The possibilities allowed by technology are truly exciting, but we must think about how they impact older Londoners.

Join Positive Ageing in London and Age Platform Europe (UK section), with help from Wise Age Ltd, on Thursday 22 February 2017, for a conference to discuss how the needs of older people in should be addressed in this strategy.

The Digital Inclusion Conference will feature a series of expert speakers, but importantly this is an opportunity for you to have your say. We will run two break-out sessions to get your input, and we will draw on the discussions throughout the day to produce a written submission for the mayor’s Chief Digital Officer.

Key questions we will explore include:

  • What type of considerations should the mayor have in developing this strategy?
  • How should the mayor tackle digital exclusion among older Londoners?
  • What barriers do older people face in getting online?



Thursday, 22 February, 2017 

10.30 – 3.30 pm

Europe House, Smith Square, London

Time Item Speaker
10.30 Arrival & registration
11.00 Introduction Mr Chris Walsh, Chair of Positive Ageing in London, and Chair of Age Platform (UK Branch)
11.15 IT use in rural & urban locations, findings from the Technology In Later Life (TILL) project Presentation by Dr Hannah R. Marston, Health & Wellbeing Priority Research Area, The Open University
11.45 Lessons from Europe  Presentation by F Moira Allan, Pass It On Network France
12.15 Impact of digitalisation on older people, benefits and problems Presentation by Professor Stuart Anderson, University of Edinburgh
12.45 Developing the Smart London Plan Presentation by the GLA (TBC)
13.15 Lunch & networking
13.45 New and current advances in use for IT for and by older people Presentation by Freddie MsMahon,  Innovation and digital entrepreneur
2.15 Activity #1 Focus groups to explore key issues, concerns and in relation to the Digital Inclusion strategy, an opportunity to put forward recommendations.
3.00 Activity #2 Large discussion – presented by group facilitators –  followed by discussion on key points to be raised from the meeting to be sent by us as our contribution on the Mayor of London’s strategy on Digital Inclusion from the perspective of older Londoners.
3.30 End

Three Upcoming PAiL Meetings

PAiL has received funding from Awards for All PAiL has now organised 3 events for the next 3 months which we hope you all will be able to attend.

The first is our PAiL Committee meeting – which has been postponed from this Friday due to the rail strike and anticipated travel disruption too next Thursday -January 18th from 11 am to 1 pm at the Age UK London meeting room at Tavis House 1-6 Tavistock Square.

This invite is for any of our members who wish to be more actively involved in helping to organise and plan our events and to have a say in our development as an organisation as well as we need more people to join the Exec. Please send me an RSVP if you wish to attend to and we will send you the agenda (there is only enough room for 12- 1 6 people so we need to have confirmed numbers).

We now also have organised 2 conferences to be held at Europe House – the first on February 22nd on the subject of Digital Inclusion and the use of ICT by and for Older People. People can arrive at 10.30 for an 11 am start and will continue to 3.30. There will be a light lunch provided.

The second will be on Older People, Economic Development and Employment held between 11 – 3.30 on March 19th at Europe House, also with a light lunch provided.

RSVP if you wish to attend these events to

Consultation on the Mayor’s Strategy for London

PAiL would like to invite all our members and followers to have their say as older Londoners on this latest consultation opportunity which is the Skills strategy section of the Mayor’s Strategy for London.

Contact us via Facebook or Twitter.

PAiL Facebook Page

Positive Ageing in London is pleased to announce our brand new Facebook page! Please access it here:

Be sure to “like” our page!

Report on Age Platform Europe meeting on Age Friendly Environments

Chris Walsh, PAiL chair, went to a meeting on Best Practice on Age Friendly Cities/environments last week in Brussels. This is an important element in improving the age friendliness of our local boroughs as well as London wide and it is crucial that older people themselves are involved in carrying this out, as well as to get sufficient funding to allow this to happen. Here is his report of the findings which he found quite inspirational and along with the example of Manchester could serve as a basis for future activities here.

First was a report about Mobility Scouts Project – By Netherlands rep Laura Christ.

It was funded by Erasmus Plus and is a best practice development network around the theme of encouraging an Active life for the  80+, with the involvement of   5 countries Austria,  Germany, Italy, Lithuania, and the Netherlands. It is an approach which can be rolled out  across other EU countries , including the UK

Its main focus was valorising potential, knowledge and skills of  the  over 80s . It is also an example of how it is possible to Engage older people in creating age friendly environments.

It is interesting that while many older people see themselves rightly as offering valuable contributions and active engagement with wider society and the economy even they tend to consider those even older than them as less able to do so. This project shows  that whatever age you are you have something to contribute and in doing so extends active and healthier ageing

The first aspect involved training older people in facilitating the project  and also involved the meeting of younger people and local community with those in the nursing home and the surrounding independent living houses. This pilot approach involving all 3 generation still continues after the formal end of the project  as older people became  more active individually and as a group  plus the project set up a youth club which has ongoing  activities run by and for the youth themselves.

In Italy the project was called ‘E noi?’ – what about us – meetings took place where  older people  said and they should be acknowledged  and developed new perspectives  around ageing, tools and older people becoming agents of change

Lithuania’s programme was based on a training programme for professionals, and volunteers to facilitate and support older people, where  older people carry out  the projects following training   based on their ideas and wishes in community

The Austria ‘Samenkracht’ or Joint Strength programme was a dialogue  including  mutual advice and  creative problem solving  as a collaboration between professionals and residents in a community building.

The common denominator was they are all Bottom Up Approach based. The first meetings in the Netherlands were hosted by the organiser  in Laura in her  house  – with adverts put in local paper  – and started with fortnightly meetings of older 80+ local people with coffee and cookies  – That developed into conversations to  translate  into practical action using the  WHO Age Friendly audit topics which then formed the basis for the participants into what is important to be covered  in the local town Age Friendly audits – the leaflet to promote this was entitled Who Owns the City.

Most important benefit for older participants was social contacts / social relationships  – meet others / neighbours  – this is commonly stated in survey as the MOST important indicator for happiness and wellbeing .

The reason the project was titled Mobility Scouts was it represents path-finding and movement.

The Training programme for Mobility Scouts  was to help train members to  assess, develop , plan and monitor implementation – a process of co-design between the project co-ordinators, research professional and the older participant members. The actual audit started with the built environment by  taking photos of your environment  both positive and negative.

As part of the alternative living design the project Architect wanted local terraced housing –  made up largely of social housing – to include one house  with a tenant living  up stairs while the downstairs living space being  open as a community space on the  ground floor , to change the use of what is already there  making communal space  easy to enter and enjoy.

In the ensuing discussion  it was noted that while BIGGER CITIES  are starting the process of becoming age friendly ( even if currently many are  not actively engaging with older people as active participants in the process – which is a  recommendation of the WHO ) while smaller cities and towns are often unaware of concept of Age Friendly environments

As an example of different approaches to environmental auditing one person followed his cat to get to know the neighbours whose land crossed the cat’s path

In terms of actively working with the council they started gaining the support and engagement of one sympathetic councillor  and now at the local level this approach is now supported by  3 political parties.

The Age friendly physical environment / street audit process. – 1 After recruitment of older members interactive training is started, not just on how to carry out the and use the WHO audit tool and process, including the questions to consider and what is to be looked at  – but commencing  with training on raising awareness  and images of ageing . What are your images of ageing – both older and younger – It transpires that many  people (regardless of their age) say older people  are in need of care –anyone who is older than them, so 60- 70s talk about 80s, active 80s talk about support for inactive or those even older. This discussion around general issues of ageing  then  results in further  discussions – eg around an alternative vision on  your environment from perspective of older people. This raising of consciousness and the development of a real life picture of life for older people in your community  and an alternative vision of the future can then play a positive role  in elections.

The Training process  then moves onto a list of problems and opportunities linked to the audit initial findings. The project designed a poster with existing good practice exemplified – the idea being to promote and encourage good practice where you are drawing on small examples from nearby plus good practice from similar endeavours.

There now needs to be a consolidation  of what are the proper training tools  and processes that can be agreed by professionals involved in both training people to use the WHO model and also how best to interest, involve, empower and educate participants- older people themselves throughout the process including public discussions, report writing and presentation and then campaigning  with the media and public and decision makers and lobbying  for the implementation of proposals.

So these elements need to include:

a) Understanding the issues involved – and  linking the wider environment an issues  to one self and one’s own situation.

b) Discussing engagement – how to involve older people – how to ensure that all types of older people are involved, from different localities, wealthy and poor, different types of tenure, women and men, different ethnicities and cultures, identities and beliefs, different generations.

c) If and when need experts in carrying out the audits and making specific recommendations – like urban planning and architects –then you have to hire experts, nut they can be volunteers and they can also be retired or semi-retired experts.

d) Experts also need to be questioned, especially those responsible for the current situation – such as the architects who do not include age friendly designs in their plans (eg accessible toilets, benches and ergonomics) so that training is also aimed at current and future professionals.

The final key point that was raised is the positive benefit on older mental and even physical health of those participating, at what level of engagement, by being actively engaged and empowered by this process. Involvement in Age Friendly environment audits and action plans help to break social isolation and loneliness both for those involved and at the end for the future beneficiaries.

PAiL Response to the London Housing Strategy

On the 18th September 2017, PAiL and Age UK London hosted a joint conference on the issues affecting older Londoners and their concerns and demands relating to housing.

With the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, planning a new London Housing Strategy, this was an opportunity for older Londoners to help shape the future of housing in the capital. The event was held as part of a project funded by Hyde Foundation to explore older people’s views on housing.

The event saw presentations on: Older Home Owners – Adaptations, Repairs, Practical Support and Advice by Jane Minter of Care and Repair England; Older People in Supported/Specialist Housing by Jeremy Porteus of Housing LIN; and the Draft London Housing Strategy.

The debate was introduced by a range of expert speakers from key organisations, before the conference split into feedback groups. You can now download a full summary of our findings from the event here.

PAiL Report on Employment and Economic Development for Older Londoners

PAIL, in association with Age UK London (AUKL),  held an interesting conference on 5th September at the DWP offices in Hammersmith on age and employment and economic development in London, in partnership with DWP who presented updates on their 50+ strategy and the impact of the national roll out of Universal Credit.

There were presentations on The DWP’s Strategy for Older Workers by David Anderson, on Universal Credit by Andrea and Corrine Gregory from DWP, on the Economic and Employment Contribution of Older Londoners by Chris Walsh of PAiL & Wise Age, and on The Benefits of Older Londoners to London’s Economy by Gordon Deuchars from Age UK London. Please find these presentations attached.

The quality of the presentations and of the subsequent discussion were excellent but unfortunately the turn out was lower than we hoped.

In summary, it was made clear just how important the contribution of older people is to the economy and employ situation in London. The impact of both the silver economy and older working age employment is a key factor in the economic development and growth of London

There was also a very good explanation as to how the DWP is progressing with its 50+ strategy and the impact of the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) in relation to older people. As 7 current major benefits are being rolled into one with UC this is both an opportunity for people to understand and receive their full entitlement in one package. It should simplify benefits including those of people up to 65. However it was noted that pension payments are not included in this new UC programme and thus will not directly affect those who are solely pensioners, but not receiving other benefits.

A matter of some concern to the 50+ is the fact that this new approach to universal benefits is going to be only online and digital, which as was raised at the meeting, is of considerable concern for those who are ‘digitally excluded’, which can include some of  those with mental or physical disabilities, older pensioners – particularly those aged 80+ – and those with low incomes / low levels of education. This is an issue which the 50+ will need to raise with the DWP to see if there are ways that both older people themselves and also staff can be supported to help those for whom online applications is not currently an option.

This event was finished with a group discussion where point of interest and concern of older people in relation to employment and older people was raised and is now being submitted to the Mayors office for their consideration while drawing up with their strategy for employment and econ dev.

See attached the submission we will be making.

This was the latest in our PAiL series of open events in which older Londoners can have their say om the key issues that affect them and also to provide an opportunity for us to have our say on the different Mayor of London’s strategies.

The next meeting PAiL is organising – this time in partnership with Age UK London and Hyde Housing – is on  Housing and Older People on 18th September, at 336, Brixton Road, London SW9 7AA, from 10.00 (Registration) to 3.30, with a light lunch available. Please click here to book your place.