PAiL Newsletter November 2020
1) Welcome to the November PAiL newsletter. As we approach the new lockdown in the face of rising case numbers, hospitalisation and deaths from COVID we are hoping to produce a Survival Plan for Older Londoners which we will submit to the London Recovery Board and GLA and promote widely. We are also planning our next newsletter to be A ‘Covid Wave 2 Survival for Older Londoners’ which will include ideas and links to help people stay physically and mentally healthy and keep actively involved in everyday life and remain politically active. If you have any suggestions of good practice or useful information/links send to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
2) We are holding our AGM on December 8 from 11 am – 1pm via a virtual zoom conference. We welcome all members to attend, to register, send your request to email@example.com. We will be holding elections for the Executive – the Chair, 2 vice chairs, Treasurer and General Secretary as well as Executive members responsible for the age-friendly domains/missions (Housing, Transport, Employment & Training, Health, Respect and Social Inclusion, Community Engagement, Communications and Digitalisation, Built Environment and local streets). If anyone wishes to put themselves forward we welcome as wide a range of people to join in as active members, reflecting the diversity of Older Londoners
3) We are working hard to respond to the opportunities to have older voices and concerns heard by the London Recovery Board in all of the Mission working groups. We are also continuing efforts to get the GLA and Mayor to agree an Age-Friendly London action plan before the end of the current term. We will keep everyone up to date with our proposals as well as welcoming our members input. You can see the current situation and our proposals under our Campaigns section re ‘London Recovery Plan and Age-Friendly London’ on our website www.pailondon.org.uk.
Section 1 – PAiL Campaigns
LETTER FROM CHARITIES REPRESENTING OLDER LONDONERS
At last some good news – the media and lobbying campaign around Older People’s TfL passes that Age UK London started up and we joined and supported has paid off. With the tens of thousands emailing their MPs and adding to our own demands to the government and the government has for the moment backed off. TfL has now got at least most of the money they asked for without having to cancel free Over 60s and Freedom passes or children’s travel passes. I think that all concerned know full well that if they withdraw our free travel – to get to work, to hospital, to volunteer to shop – there will be hell to pay, especially at the ballot box!
However, we have to remain vigilant as this settlement is only for 6 months and they have still not been able to reintroduce our free travel to include the morning rush hour. But for now, let’s enjoy our victory and hats off to John McGeachy and Age UK London for mobilising this campaign
Chris Walsh – PAIL Chair
QUESTION, CLLR. WORRALL: NATIONAL RAILCARD PANDEMIC COMPENSATION
At the meeting of WMTDC on 27 May, I asked whether TfWM would lobby the organisers of the national railcard scheme (the Rail Delivery Group), with a view to them compensating railcard holders for pandemic-related loss of discounted rail travel opportunities, by extending the validity of senior, disabled and young persons’ railcards beyond their current expiry dates by the amount of time lost to would-be users as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions on travel. (READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON OUR WEBSITE BY CLICKING HERE)
LONDON RECOVERY BOARD
On the 10th November the London Recovery Board meets to discuss the next steps on formulating London’s Recovery Plan. Given the second lockdown it’s important that older people are supported now. Clearly we fully support the London Recovery Board’s aim to reduce inequalities in London highlighted by Covid, but we have a major concern that older Londoners are neglected in recovery planning, so it’s important that age as a protected characteristic is fully taken on board in framing London’s recovery plan.
(LINK TO WEBSITE LATEST NEWS STORY)
GLA REPORT ON ” INEQUALITIES IN RELATION TO COVID-19 AND LONDON “
Positive Ageing in London very much welcome the Report on inequalities in London in relation to Covid-19
It starkly shows the massive effect of Covid 19 on vulnerable Londoners particularly those with protected characteristics and demonstrates these inequalities need to be tackled as prime part of London’s recovery with firm evidence.
The data and information on the effect on older Londoners is less evidenced as the report makes clear. The pandemic has cruelly exacerbated the structural inequalities facing older people and the impact of this varies across London particularly affecting older BAME people. The long list of problems includes loneliness, poor housing, mental and physical health, delayed medical treatments, the digital divide, difficulties in accessing services, problems of shopping, employment risks and above all the loss of independent living.
It’s important that GLA and the London Recovery Board get greater evidence of the impact this is having on older Londoners who are a very diverse group and as the report makes clear, work with bodies such as Positive Ageing in London to identify the scale of problems and help develop solutions.
OLDER LONDONERS – FORGOTTEN AND BEING LEFT BEHIND?
Now we’re approaching a serious second wave of Covid we need to be ready for a harsh winter facing older people. This challenge is against a backdrop of persistent calls to lock older people away so the rest of society can get moving. But what are the lessons from what happened earlier this year and are we prepared to help older people in the coming months and how does this playout in London’s recovery. New survey evidence of older people in the late summer shows the dramatic effect on older people who still face the risk of not just their lives on hold but deteriorating physical and mental health. (LINK TO WEBSITE NEWS STORY)
REQUEST FOR FEEDBACK ON LONELINESS IN OLD AGE
Independent Age and the Alzheimer’s Society are the co-chairs of the Department for Culture, Media and Sports’ Loneliness Network – Older People Task and Finish Group. This group is made up of organisations who support, and care about, people in later life.
The task force is investigating how the pandemic has affected services/charities which combat loneliness for those in later life, and the people who use them or volunteer for them.
They have launched two surveys to help gather information to inform our recommendations:
- The first asks about people’s personal experience of the COVID pandemic and whether it has affected their feelings of loneliness. It also later asks for anyone with volunteering experience during the pandemic to share their thoughts:
- The second seeks views of organisations that deliver services to people in later life which aim to combat loneliness:
Please pass these onto other individuals and organisations – the closing date is the 22nd of November.
AGE-FRIENDLY LONDON: HACKNEY TAKES THE CHALLENGE
As the GLA appears to have paused its plans for getting Age-Friendly city status because of Covid it’s great to see that some London Boroughs are pushing for their areas to be Age-Friendly. One of the latest is Hackney who are in the final throes of consulting on their strategy and you can read here about their plans. The introduction has some very poignant words –
“The diversity that exists in Hackney is one of our borough’s greatest strengths and recognising that this diversity still exists as people age is essential. Not every older person is supported through social care, but some are. Not everyone is retired or seasoned marathon runners or volunteers and carers, but some are and continue to be. Part of changing the narrative is greater recognition that older people continue to give back to their communities and are supported in varied and different ways. One of our greatest community assets are our older residents”
Section 2 – The Ticking Health Time Bomb
One of the main problems facing older Londoners since the pandemic has been how the “normal NHS” has been scuppered. Many older people have reported delays in treatments and having to have consultations via zoom or by phone. According to Age UK, 47 percent of older people are less confident going to hospital and 40 percent less confident going to a GP surgery. The problem is that conditions may not be treated and we’re already seeing non-Covid deaths such as cancer increasing.
The NHS in London has been looking at these issues and what needs to be done. Virtual workshops were held over the summer which did include older people as a way of getting inputs from local populations. See (LINK TO NEWS ARTICLE ON WEBSITE)
Health & The NHS
Help the NHS develop a vaccine against Covid-19
Scientists need to carry out clinical studies to better understand how safe and effective a vaccine is. They need the general public to participate especially those who are more likely to benefit from a vaccine, including older people and thos from BAME backgrounds.
Joining the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Register does not commit you to participate.
For more information go to NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry
Fight the fluThis winter we face the double-whammy of Covid-19 and seasonal flu. The flu season starts in December.
We can at least get protected against seasonal flu. Soon everyone over 50 will be able to get a free flu jab from their GP and local pharmacies.
Age UK London has launched the “Now More Than Ever” campaign to promote vaccination. It will target the boroughs in North and Northwest London where uptake is especially low as well as older BAME people.
Find out more here.
National Self Care Week 16-22 November 2020
It is organised by The Self Care Forum to empower people to better look after their own physical health and mental wellbeing.
For more information see http://www.selfcareforum.org/events/self-care-week/
Section 3 – PAiL Information
From Our Partners
AGE UK London
Nearly 2,000 people have written to the Secretary of State using our online tool in the past 36 hours and this sits alongside a range of other campaign activities
This campaign against cancelling free Over 60s and Freedom passes as well as children’s passes was successful. After 50,000 emails were sent to MP’s the government agreed to cancel this demand from the TfL.
Statement with Child Poverty Action Group.
London Community Response Survey
Join the London Community Response Survey civil society cohort and contribute to the collective understanding of challenges and opportunities facing London’s communities and civil society organisations.
Complete the five-minute, bi-monthly survey and be part of a cohort of over 350 organisations reporting directly to civil society and strategic bodies across London.
To join the cohort of front line civil society groups, complete this onboarding survey and you will be sent the next available survey.
BBC to consult NPC after over 75s free licence summit with new Director General Tim Davie
Age Activism – Campaigning Training With Campaign Bootcamp
Age Activism, will be a free multi-week training to help people develop the skills they need to campaign on a particular issue and create change to better their lives. In this instance, the training will be for people 60 or older who are interested in campaigning around social care. We are looking for people who:
- Want to learn how to campaign on social care
- Want to feel confident about campaigning and using the internet to do this
- Are 60 or above and want to bring their life experience into campaigning
To participate in this training, you need to be able to attend training sessions on Tuesdays from 10am to 12:30pm, starting on Tuesday 8th December and concluding at the end of March. There will be at least 12 sessions and breaks for the holidays.
To get involved, fill out this short application by Monday 16th November here
|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.