Politicians and Decision Makers
Open meeting at the Council Chambers: The Management Committee invited parliamentary candidates for both Swindon South and Swindon North constituencies to face questions from an audience on issues of concern to older people on both national and local levels. Among those issues were questions on isolation and loneliness, access to transport, bus passes, social care, and benefits. The meeting was well attended by members of the public, including registered members of the forum.
Santander have been playing a key role in supporting the Management Committee with raising awareness of the forum within and without their business premises.
- We were afforded the opportunity to hold an awareness morning at the bank and four Committee Members managed to enlist a number of new members.
- We were invited to give a talk about the forum to their staff at the local branch. This was delivered by two Committee Members.
- The above is in addition to their contribution in administrative and fund-raising efforts.
Working with the Decision-Makers
- Thamesdown Transport: Guest Speaker Paul Jenkins, Director of Thamesdown Transport, briefed the Management Committee on developments that had taken place in the previous 12 months in relation to transport. He also presented full details concerning near-future changes to the bus services of Thamesdown. The Committee publicized the complete presentation in both a newsletter and on the website. In addition, the website made available a dedicated form for use by both members of the forum and members of the public. Comments and complaints received through this form were forwarded to Jenkins, who responded promptly.
- The Mayor: During the early part of the year members of the Management Committee were invited to the Mayor's Parlour for afternoon tea with the Mayor of Swindon, Councillor Teresa Page. The Mayor explained the history of Swindon’s Mayoral Office and the Ceremonial Mace. She communicated her concern over the deteriorating services in certain areas that affect the elderly and expressed her admiration for the volunteering tradition in Swindon. This event was publicized both in our newsletter and on our website .
Commissioner for older people: Three members of the Committee attended the South West Seniors Assembly Conference, which was held in July 2015 at Colston Hall. The Conference addressed issues concerning older people’s matters. Among the guest speakers was Claire Keatinge, the Commissioner for older People in Northern Ireland.
The Committee agreed to join forces with other organizations and to lobby, jointly and independtly, for a Commissioner for Older People in England. To this end, we met with Robert Buckland MP, in the latter part of 2015 and we intend to continue lobbying the Government. This event was publicized both in our newsletter and on our website .
- Councillor Bob Wright: Guest Speaker, Councillor Bob Wright made a presentation to the Committee in which he expressed his concern about the reluctance of older people to go out at night. He invited the Committee to encourage the members to suggest ideas and proposals that will make going out at night safer for older people. The Committee followed-up in the Newsletter and provided a special section on the website where those interested could submit their views online.
- Radio: Starting November 2015 the Management Committee attended planned sessions with local radio Swindon 105.5. We wish to thank Shirley Ludford for her co-operation in helping us promote the forum.
- On-line Presence: The forum is now registered with the My Care My Support website, which is run by the Council. The forum can also be found on Google business under the name SOPF, which will be changed to SSF in due course.
Waitrose Community Matters: Following an active promotion at the local store in Wichelstowe, and assisted by Santander, the forum raised the sum of £260.
The Pride of Swindon Awards held their 7th annual event at the Steam Museum in recognition of the town citizens who are active in their communities. This year our chair, Norma Thompson, was among those who received an award for their work in a number of local voluntary organizations.
SSF key priorities for 2015—2016
- We will continue to raise awareness of the forum;
- Recruit new members and ensuring our voice is heard;
- Continue to fundraise;
- Lobby our MPs to get a Commissioner for England.