AGM & Autumn 2017
Open Meeting

Tuesday, 24 October 2017 (2.00 - 4.00)
Open To Members and Non-Members
At Lawn Community Centre
Guildford Avenue. Tel: 01793 651 806
Swindon SN3 1JL  

See list of speakers here
Buses 11, 12 & 22
also 13 & 14 (fair walk)
** Raffle and Stalls **

Silver Sunday - 1 October 2017

Silver Sunday is an annual day of fun and free activities for older people across the UK. It celebrates the value and knowledge we contribute to our communities while combating loneliness and isolation.

International Day of Older Persons 2017

Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.

1 October is UK Older People’s Day, which is an annual event that coincides with the UN International Day of Older Persons. The event is a celebration of the achievements and contributions of older people, and an opportunity to challenge and change attitudes to ageing as well as bringing people together, whatever their age.

The Loneliness Summit


Loneliness can be defined as a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. It can happen when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want.
(Perlman and Peplau 1981).

On Friday 30 June 2017 Swindon Seniors Forum with Robert Buckland MP QC hosted a Loneliness Summit in Swindon at the Lawns Community Centre. The event was the first summit which aims to get the people who are best placed to tackle loneliness in a room and talking about the issue. This summit was organised to bring together key stakeholders, including local organisations from different sectors, older people, Swindon Borough Councillors and the Health and Care sectors to discuss the negative impact loneliness has on health in Swindon. We recognise that loneliness is an issue for people of all ages, but our meeting discussed issued particularly relating to older people.

We had a fantastic turnout with representatives from Swindon Borough Council, older people’s groups, police, Swindon Circles, Clinical Commissioning Group, Mental Health, the voluntary sector and community groups.

There was a great buzz in the room and many of our attendees told us they had learned something new, made valuable new connections and were – most importantly – going to come together and make things happen in their work or community. A powerful video featuring interviews with three people over the age of 55 years, living in Swindon, left attendees in no doubt as to the prevalence of the problem and the devastating impact it can have on those who do not know where to turn and those who may have lost their confidence.

Swindon Seniors Forum and Robert Buckland MP will continue to work hard to bring about an end to loneliness in Swindon.

Loneliness is a serious risk to our health

Loneliness is as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is twice as harmful for us as obesity. It is a painful thing to suffer from loneliness. You can feel lonely even if you are in the middle of a room or are someone who lives in a house filled with people.

Loneliness affects all ages but older people can be particularly vulnerable. A person can be isolated yet not feel lonely, you are not alone in your loneliness- it is a problem common to many of us.

Most of us at some point in our lives have experienced loneliness. For some it is temporary, perhaps triggered by particular events or transitions, while for others, it seems to be a permanent fact. There are about 31,100 people over the age of 65 years in Swindon about 14.7% of the population and 14,600 of these are aged 75 years and over.

Loneliness for people over the age of 55 years often begins as they retire from active work - people who may have been used to getting up from bed at about 6.00 am daily now find no reason to wake up before 8.00 am. Often when they get up from bed and treat themselves to breakfast, the rest of the day is spent either reading the newspapers, listening to the radio and/or watching the television.

Those who are going through this feeling of loneliness include retired public servants, people of all educational levels, widows and widowers, those whose children are living abroad, single parents and individuals who never married, people without children, families and people over 55 years of age, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people(LGBTQ).
Who is aware, and planning for the prediction that over 2 million people over the age of 65 years will be ageing without children? 90% of LGBTQ people are estimated to be ageing without the support of children. Anchor Care Homes have successfully initiated residents meetings for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) as well as arranging staff training. The question is: “Who will speak up for you when you are no longer able to cope on your own? (Our Voices report at ).

In later life people may still enjoy the company of their nephews and nieces, but often, as the nephews and nieces start building their own families and are advancing in age, they may not have time or thought for these older unmarried uncles and aunts.

However wealthy widows and widowers may be, they go may still experience loneliness and boredom even if they can afford to travel and visit relations, children who live overseas and tourist destinations.

While social and religious engagements may reduce the impact of loneliness in people generally, such engagements may not sufficiently serve the purpose of the older people who find themselves isolated from their social networks. Sometimes, when retiring to bed in their homes, the stark reality of loneliness stares them in the face and can also bring a feeling of fear and panic.

There is often an assumption that older people from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups live in ‘traditional’ family structures, with young relations looking after or living with older generations. Though there is some truth in this, the fact remains that for many older BME people, life in later age can be a lonely experience, and being lonely is significantly more than just a quiet house and a lack of companionship. As time passes, loneliness does not just take a toll on the mind, but may also have a severe physical effects.

Governments and psychologists must recognize and accept loneliness as a major medical, mental, psychological, physical and social problem and devise lasting solutions that will provide succour to those afflicted with it. According to the campaign to end loneliness around 10% of people over 65 report feeling lonely “all or most of the time”. I would also like to see how the government might support the valuable work of voluntary sector organisations in helping to tackle problems such as loneliness.

Reach out to a lonely person – volunteer. This is one of the best remedies for loneliness. And never give up hope, we can all play a part in reducing loneliness.

Please visit our website to read the results of our loneliness survey.

Let’s make loneliness history in Swindon
Norma Thompson

Alopecia support group Swindon
You are not alone
For information on dealing with the emotional effects of living with alopecia. Please contact Jeanette on 07833768693.

New Members

Welcome to all new members who joined us in April 2017, we hope you find our newsletter useful.


Swindon Seniors Forum has been awarded a ‘Friends and Forums’ small grant from Age UK.


An update on the Bus Services Bill, 5th April 2017,
from Nigel Hale, Passenger Transport Manager
at Swindon Equalities Advisory Forum

Mr Hale explained that the Government wanted to unlock the significant potential that exists for the bus industry to achieve more passengers that it does today. The government's role was to provide local authorities and bus operators with the tools needed to improve local bus services and therefore encourage more people to use the buses. Improvements included more attractive Quality Partnerships, new franchising powers and open data and ticketing. The new bus Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).

From 27 April 2017

  • ✔  New buses bill will give councils new powers to deliver better journeys for passengers, and help cut rush hour congestion.

  • ✔  New 'apps' for passengers will advise when the next bus will arrive.

  • ✔  Councils will get new powers to work with operators to introduce smart tickets that work on trains and other forms of public transport, making journeys easier.

The powers proposed in the Bus Services Bill could be used anywhere in England and all the powers could be used by any local transport authority. This includes combined authorities, county and unitary councils. Public transport not only has a role in moving people, but also provides an opportunity for people to socialise and form connections in their local community.

For more information visit:
Campaing for Better Transport     Bus Service Bill Overview

Changes to Swindon Libraries
from September 2017

As of the 1 September 2017 Swindon Libraries and Information Service will only be directly responsible for 5 core Libraries, Central, North, Highworth, West and Park. All of these will continue to run much as they currently do at this time with the addition of Extended Opening Technology. Extended Access uses technology to allow you to access the libraries outside of staff hours. To use this service you will have to see the staff at the desk who will confirm your eligibility and book you on to an induction course.

Donations for raffle

We would like to thank the following companies for their generous donations of gifts for our raffle and also for refreshments for our last Open Meeting.

  • Morrisons, Dorcan Way, Eldene
  • Sainsbury, Bridgemead and town centre Swindon.
  • Wilko, Fleet Street Swindon
  • Asda Walmart, North Swindon
  • Marks and Spencer, Regents Street, Swindon

Men in Sheds

A Man’s Shed is designed to be a larger version of the typical man's shed in the garden, a place where you can feel at home and pursue practical interests.

The aim is to work on projects at your own pace in a safe friendly and inclusive environment.

If you would like more information on the workshop, or on becoming a member of the Men in Sheds project, please call
Kevin Prosser on 07540726432
or email

Doorstep Callers
Beware of cold callers offering to clean out gutters. A small job of cleaning gutters can sometimes progress to major work needed on the roof at significant cost. Scammers are devious and prey on the vulnerable to commit fraud, if approached on the doorstep, by mail online or over the phone then it is okay to say no.

Simple Assessment for Pensioners

In the next couple of months HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) will be writing to all taxpayers who reached state pension age in 2016/17 explaining the Simple Assessment process. HMRC will be sending out the Simple Assessments (PA302) forms in October 2017. Please remember that if taxpayers don’t agree with the figures on the Simple Assessment, they must query the figures within 60 days of the date of issue.

Age UK and Smart Energy GB Partnership

Age UK has teamed up with Energy GB, the voice of the smart meter rollout. Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters which replace the traditional meters in your homes. Smart meters will help you stay more in control of your energy use and may help you save money.

The smart meter rollout is a national upgrade and smart meters are just the beginning of the ‘smart technology’ revolution that is underway and inevitable in this day and age. We know that some people will need additional support to understand and use this technology

The campaign aims to help older people without access to the internet learn about smart meters as this group of older people has been identified as particularly wary of new gadgets and technology. This campaign aims to show older people that the technology is simple to use and that smart meters can make it easier to be better informed and more control of your energy use. Smart meters will also bring an end to estimated billing so you will not find yourself with an unexpected catch up bill at the end of the year. Visit the website.

Swindon Seniors Forum are sad to report the death of Lord Joffe in June

Age UK has teamed up with Energy GB, the voice of the smart meter rollout. Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters which replace the traditional meters in your homes. Smart meters will help you stay more in control of your energy use and may help you save money. Joel was our patron from 2015; although unable to attend meetings in recent years he was a significant figure and kept a keen interest in and was very supportive of the Forum's work.

We compiled a brief background of his contributions  on this website.


Are you well organised? Are you a member of our forum?
Do you want to make a difference? If the answer is yes, please read on!

We are looking for a volunteer secretary for our forum. Duties include arranging and taking minutes of meetings, dealing with correspondence and booking venues and equipment for meetings. You will be working as part of a team. If you are interested we would very much like to meet with you to discuss this further.

Additionally, we are actively seeking a number of new members, from our diverse community in Swindon, and from a range of different backgrounds, to join our Management Committee. Membership is free and open to residents in the borough of Swindon, in middle and later life, or anybody with a particular interest in being a voice for issues effecting people over the age of 55.

If you would like to join our Management Committee, please contact us at any time, after joining the Forum: by post: Chair, SSF c/o Voluntary Action Swindon,
1 John Street, Swindon SN1 1RT


Website: Use the online contact form.