The August PAiL Newsletter

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Welcome to this our August 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

PAiL pushing for older people to be centre stage in London’s recovery from COVIDPAiL submitted its Recovery Plan to the new London Recovery Board co-ordinating how London’s recovery from the pandemic and received positive support from a range of stakeholders including members of the London Recovery Board (LINK). This week’s Board meeting showed that our lobbying is bearing fruits.Older people’s needs were recognised as important in planning and shouldn’t get forgotten in the push to get London moving economically. Ruth Dombey Leader of Sutton Council and joint chair of the Social Recovery part of the London Recovery Board explicitly mentioned working with PAiL. Consultation is underway and the Board’s missions and work plans will be launched in mid-September.But there’s a big mountain to climb to ensure we’re central to the thinking about recovery and how older people’s needs are built into the planning, given the many priorities being put forward by groups across London. You can help push the older peoples voice by submitting your views now to the London Recovery Board (Click Here)

Age-Friendly London Action Plan

The 2 ‘age experts’ on the GLA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion advisory board called a meeting of the major London ‘Age Membership Organisations’ to set up a ‘London Age Friendly Forum’. This was to help the age and voluntary sector continue to develop our ideas on each of the 8 domain working groups and also to support an ‘Age-Friendly London’ Action Plan in partnership with the GLA, London Councils and related bodies ( including Public Health England – London and  TfL). The executive has representatives from U3A, PAIL, Age UK London, GLF for older people , the NPC, the Civil Service Pensioners Association, TUC and Trade Union Retired members.  

This group has now agreed on its Terms, a Statement of Intent and its communication approach. Leads from the age and voluntary sector have been appointed for the 8 domain groups: Health, Housing, Transport, Employment, Communications (and Digitalisation), the Built Environment (and Street and toilet audits), Respect & Social Inclusion and Community Involvement & Engagement. It is hoped that these groups will meet over the next few weeks and be able to produce documents for discussion before finally being agreed as part of the Age-Friendly London Action Plan. 

These working groups are being informed by a draft GLA set of proposals and priorities (which once permission has been given we will publish). PAIL has sent in the recommendations for all domain groups arising from its March 6 Conference where older Londoners and their organisations discussed and agreed further proposals to be submitted for consideration (Click Here)

We are trying to ensure that this Action Plan is agreed and then adopted by the GLA before the end of the current Mayoral term. 

Funding for Street Audits

TfL is now carrying out massive changes to the way it is working and to the methods of personal transportation and the street environment in which we live. This is also taking place within the context of the government’s initiatives around greening the streets and encouraging cycling and walking, plus the creation of the London Recovery Board, while there are also ongoing negotiations between the GLA and the government over costs and payments, with fears of cuts that may impact on older Londoners.

In the midst of all this PAIL believes it is crucial that older people interests, concerns and expert and ‘lived experience’  recommendations are heard.

Part of this should be encouraging and supporting older people to carry out local street audits which encompass everything that impacts on older people (and those with disabilities and those with children) including provision of pedestrian spaces, crossings, adequate signage, unblocking streets, access to toilets, open spaces and built environment facilities.

PAIL has a grant to fund us helping local age-friendly street champions to set up such local street audit groups, made up of older people and submit the results to their local boroughs for action. Once it is safe for people to carry this out,  PAIL is happy to lead the discussion and make presentations to local groups explaining why this is Needed, what is involved and providing WHO template guidelines for the actual audits.

Risks to TFL Funding

PAiL has written to Grant Shapps the Secretary of State for Transport (Link Here) to resist any changes to the Freedom Pass and concessionary travel for older people in London following the Government’s announcement it’s conducting a major review of Transport for London’s finances,. TFL’s decision to suspend free travel for over 60s before 9am on the tube & bus network was at the insistence of the Department of Transport. TFL is experiencing major financial pressures since the pandemic and has requested a second bailout from Government but this shouldn’t be at the expense of older people. The government’s review is to report at the end of August.

Toilet News

PAiL hosted a Zoom discussion on Public Toilets  on 22 July.

We understand that the GLA will soon be looking at public toilet provision. PAiL has now set up a  short-term working group  to identify 5 key recommendations to make to them. If you are interested in being part of this group, please contact margitphysant@yahoo.co.uk


Section 2: BAME & Coronavirus

COVID & BAME Deaths: The London Picture

New research by Trust for London (Link here) has vividly highlighted the links between deprivation and deaths from COVID in London. In the first three months of the Pandemic, more Londoners lost their lives to coronavirus than in any other English region.

Researchers have analysed the London death rates to examine possible trends. They conclude that even after controlling for a wide range of other neighbourhood measures, the most deprived 20% of London’s neighbourhoods saw, on average, 23 more COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 than the least deprived 20% of neighbourhoods. The research showed the presence of older Londoners was also significant – areas with ‘high’ numbers of over 65s would be expected to have 25 more COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 than those with ‘low’ numbers of over 65s.

But Ethnicity was important independently of other factors, particularly neighbourhoods with high numbers of Black and Asian residents. Those areas of London with ‘high’ numbers of Asian residents would be expected to experience 9 more COVID-19 deaths per 100,000, and those with ‘high’ numbers of Black residents 13 more deaths compared to neighbourhoods with ‘low’ numbers of each ethnicity.

Although the researchers state this is a preliminary research it shows that much more research is needed to explain deaths particularly of BAME seniors and to help develop urgent solutions to address inequalities.


Section 3 – Education Campaigns & Ext. Links

COVID and Older People the risks  – breaking down the statistics

During the crisis, the issue of over 70s being riskier and needing lockdown was hotly debated and the government-backed down under pressure. But what are the statistics behind the risks of catching COVID as you get older? We’ve reviewed the evidence which confirms that although age does affect your risk of becoming ill from coronavirus it’s too crude to say that at 70 you automatically become riskier and that younger age groups are just fine. It depends on several factors – your health, what conditions you may have, and your economic and social circumstances. Read our full analysis here (LINK) 

Those older Londoner’s who are still shielding

New NHS data analysed by PAiL shows over 16 percent of all over 70s in London have been shielding – around 120,000 people. But this varies widely across London Boroughs – in Hounslow nearly 40 percent of its over 70s are shielding, 30 percent in Ealing and a quarter in Hillingdon and Brent. In contrast, Enfield only has 11 percent shielding.  From 1 August Government advice to shield will be paused and those shielding need to follow strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures and so are permitted to visit shops and pharmacies, places of worship and go back to work if they can’t work from home and it is safe to do so. There are concerns about the support those shielding will receive and many are naturally concerned about the risks they see themselves as having. PAiL will be monitoring this situation over the next few weeks. If you have feedback then we would like to hear this – please email us at positiveageinginlondon@gmail.com or go to the forums on our website (Details Below).

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/community
The first time you use it, you will need to click on the ‘create an account’ at the bottom. 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 August PAiL Newsletter

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