The July 16th PAiL Newsletter

Welcome to this our July newsletter for PAiL members, partners and older Londoners. Please distribute to your friends, colleagues or members and use any of the information or links here and include in your own newsletters. As London’s official regional age forum we provide a voice for older Londoners and their organisations and to ensure that our concerns, issues and recommendations are heard and relayed to the relevant authorities.

Section 1 – PAiL Campaigns

At last they are listening!

After our presentation of our London Recovery Board Proposals for Older Londoners we have received positive responses from The Mayor of London and also other members of the LRB and related politicians.

PAiL‘s London’s Recovery Plan for Older Londoners

PAiL submitted a recovery plan for older Londoners to mayor Sadiq Khan and Councillor Peter John who are jointly chairing London’s new Recovery Board. This pan London Board has been set up to co-ordinate a London plan for economic and social recovery post the pandemic. The risk is that older Londoners get left out of the thinking and plans that are being assembled as we move out of lockdown. The plan (https://pailondon.org.uk/2020/07/recovery-plan-for-older-londoners/) sets out key principles to ensure older people’s needs and voices are central to recovery planning as well as outlines some of the challenges facing older people in different areas of their lives and offers recommendations. Responses so far have been extremely positive with the Mayor of London supporting the principles (LINK TO MAYOR’S LETTER) , and this has logged with decision makers that older people’s needs shouldn’t be neglected plus not all older people are vulnerable. We will be building on this work over the next few months to ensure the thinking and actions get followed through. You can read more about the issues that the Mayor considered in taking this decision on the Greater London Authority website: https://www.london.gov.uk/decisions/md2642-temporary-changes-free-travel-arrangements-older-londoners.

Government Covid ‘Task force’ will not relax two metre rule for public transport over TFL’s head, says Sadiq Khan

End of Free TV Licence for Over-75s unless you claim Pension Credit

The BBC has announced that Over-75s will have to pay the £157 fee for their TV-licence from 1 August unless they receive Pension Credit.With this in mind PAiL has asked the GLA to provide information in print for older people on how to claim this benefit. We delighted that they have agreed to do so and they will disseminate a letter to older people via the local hubs. You can claim online or by making a call to the claim line telephone 0800 99 1234. You can also claim by post. Forms can be requested via the claim line or you can  print out and fill in the Pension Credit claim form via this link.Go to https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit   for more information about Pension Credit. 

News About Toilets

Ministers have written to local authorities urging them to re-open public toilets. The letter states that public toilets should be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and lists a number of steps to be taken including:• Signs and posters to increase awareness of hand washing and coughing etiquette and ensure suitable facilities are available (running water, soap, drying)• Social distancing marking in areas where queues normally form, and the adoption of a limited entry approach, with one in, one out• Putting up a visible cleaning schedule can keep it up to date• Keep the facilities well ventilated.If you are writing to your local authority, it may be useful to refer to this letter.   Seehttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-letter-to-councils-on-the-re-opening-of-public-toilets-and-tips

Access to toilets remains an important issue for older Londoners. PAiL is hosting a virtual discussion on Zoom
Public Toilets – what are our messages to the authorities? on Wednesday 22 July 2020 at 11 am. To enable a good discussion, numbers are restricted. If you are interested, please register via email to    positiveageinginlondon@gmail.com

Section 2 – BAME and Coronavirus

Concerns about the effects of COVID on BAME people is growing. The local effects in London have been devastating as an article in the Guardian about a community in Brent graphically showed https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jun/27/people-were-abandoned-injustices-of-pandemic-laid-bare-in-brent.

PAiL supports the need for more research on reasons for this massive disparity of deaths plus an urgent investigation into health inequalities affecting BAME communities and also racism within the NHS. Our Recovery Plan for Older Londoners argues there needs to be an urgent investigation in London about issues affecting BAME people.

We support London Borough’s that are taking action such as Camden Council who’ve set up an investigation into racial inequality in the Borough –  https://news.camden.gov.uk/we-must-take-action-to-tackle-coronavirus-inequalities-says-council-leader/. PAiL believes that other London Boroughs need to follow this and look at issues in their own localities. 

COVID and Me: By Bridget Sam-Bailey

I am fairly healthy for my age except for the after-effects of being knocked down by a car in 2003 which left me with permanent injuries and lingering pain. Despite that I’ve continued being active in the older people’s movement. Since  February 2020  I’ve spent my days virtually zooming. These are now new words in my vocabulary. I have zoom meetings, and join zoom meetings, and attend church by Zoom. I have Choir Practice by Zoom. The only physical contact I have with the outside world is with my son who, when we were instructed not to allow anyone into our homes, it broke my heart when I told him to leave things on the doorstep. Being locked down is more like being locked up – I would imagine. Because of the unfinished work going on in the house, I’ve been more or less confined to one room, my spare bedroom where I have a view of my small garden, and the sun shines in this room if I leave the curtains open from sunrise. Here I soak up the sun and top up my Vitamin D until the sun disappears around 10 a.m.  So for the first two or three hours I lie on my bed with the sun on me. I would love to say that I top up my tan, but I have a permanent one… READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Section 3 – Education Campaigns & Ext. Links

Post COVID Advice Posters

If  the new COVID guidance has you a bit confused then there are some helpful posters which can be downloaded –  https://www.keepsafe.org.uk/posters

Supporting older people with technology

During the crisis there have been several initiatives to help older people cross the digital divide. One example around White City involved Imperial College students helping isolated older residents by matching them with a phone buddy for tech and befriending support, offering them up to two thirty-minute sessions every week via telephone or video call with a dedicated Imperial volunteer. 
See:  https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/198313/science-backpacks-tech-help-elderly-supporting/

Helping with recovery for those who’ve suffered from COVID 

The effects of suffering from COVID can take a long time to disappear with significant health problems experienced. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have produced a helpful animation to keep you active and rebuild your strength – https://www.csp.org.uk/public-patient/covid-19-road-recovery

Section 4 – Protecting elderly post COVID 19

Support for campaign extend the furlough scheme for shielding and high-risk workers.

The TUC and other charities are campaigning to extend the furlough scheme for shielding and high-risk workers who are expected to go back to work on the 1st August – https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-and-charity-coalition-calls-furlough-scheme-be-extended-shielded-and-high-risk-workers.  Older workers who work in riskier occupations in particular have been affected and have concerns about returning to work.  In London over 153,000 London workers aged 55 and over who are in jobs at highest exposure to the virus, comprising of 17% of all London jobs exposed to the virus.

Section 4 – Protecting elderly post COVID 19

Support for campaign extend the furlough scheme for shielding and high-risk workers.

The TUC and other charities are campaigning to extend the furlough scheme for shielding and high-risk workers who are expected to go back to work on the 1st August – https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-and-charity-coalition-calls-furlough-scheme-be-extended-shielded-and-high-risk-workers.  Older workers who work in riskier occupations in particular have been affected and have concerns about returning to work.  In London over 153,000 London workers aged 55 and over who are in jobs at highest exposure to the virus, comprising of 17% of all London jobs exposed to the virus.

The silver economy is key to economic recovery 

The International Longevity Centre (ILC) in a new report highlights that older consumers could drive economic growth in the post-pandemic recovery but business is failing to meet their needs. The report “Lockdown not shutdown: How can we unlock the longevity dividend post-pandemic?” argues that older people on a fixed income may have not faced as significant a financial shock as younger people yet lockdown has made it difficult for this group, particularly those shielding, to actually spend their money. https://ilcuk.org.uk/older-consumers-key-to-unlocking-spending-as-lockdown-relaxes/ . The ILC argue that in order to maximise the longevity dividend, Government and industry should invest in preventative health and inclusively design products and places and help people to get a better understanding of how long they’re likely to live, and create financial products that offer financial security for their whole life.

NPC Call to Arms

The NPC is sending out a Call To Arms over the cruel decision to axe the over 75s TV licence from 1st August. Jan Shortt, NPC General Secretary has written a letter to NPC affiliates detailing the steps they can take to show how angry they are at having the most vulnerable section of our society betrayed by the current government.The letter from Jan can be found in full in word format here

Accompanying the letter is a templated letter for you to write to the Prime Minister here

Further information on TV Licensing can be found here

The recent response from Sir David Clementi Chair of the BBC Board can be found here

In addition the recent interview done by Jan Shortt on Talk Radio can be found in mp3 format here

More information about the TV licence campaign and the NPC is  available on www.npcuk.org ‘In The News’ section

Make your voice heard on our online Discussion Forum

The new PAiL revamped website has a discussion forum for members. It is very easy to use: Go to the home page www.pailondon.org.uk  and click on the FORUM tab along the top. When you are on the page called ‘Main Forum’, click on the ‘Add a topic’ tab. You will see a Sign In box. The first time you use it, you will need to click on the ‘create an account’ at the bottom. You will be asked for: • Username. This is what other people can see when you have posted a comment. It does not have to be your full name and can be a made-up name• A password. If you are not sharing your computer, it is a good idea to tick the ‘remember me’ box so you do not have to remember the password every time you log in.Click on a topic to contribute to the discussion OR click on ‘Add a topic’ in the ‘Main Forum’ section to start a new one.

The July 16th PAiL Newsletter

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