Sheffield 50+

12th February 2013

"Sheffield 50+ is a non-party-political, independent, voluntary group democratically run by and for older people over 50 residing in Sheffield.

  As a registered charity our mission is to promote and support the capacity and skills of all people over 50 residing in Sheffield, so that they can actively participate in society. We adopt a rights based approach to engagement that supports the interdependence, choice and control of and by older people within Sheffield." Background Sheffield 50+ has been in existence since 2002 and was established out of the 1999 Home Office initiative 'Better Government for Older People' (BGOP).  This was set up and supported by various local authorities in the form of pilot projects to encourage greater democratic accountability and to empower those over 50 to give 'voice'.  Fundamentally, the aim was to mobilise older people and encourage them to use their wealth of knowledge, skill and experience for the benefit of their peers and the communities they live in.  The resultant findings of these pilots as documented in the Elbourne review of 2008, found that the BGOP model had broken down as a result of poor governance and patchy delivery.  At the same time the Audit Commission's report -Don't Stop Me Now also published in 2008, reinforced the view that despite significant numbers of older people being involved, many of their views are not being captured or responded to.  Indeed it found that only around one third of local authorities had meaningful engagement with the older community.  Our business plan is a positive and creative reaction to these findings. It is also supportive of three of Elbourne's findings namely The need for government clearly to recognise the value of older people coming together to influence and effect change; The principle that voices of older people should be heard across all levels of government; The need to build upon what is already working; Sheffield 50+ is a non-party-political, independent, voluntary group democratically run by and for older people over 50 residing in Sheffield.  As a registered charity our mission is to promote and support the capacity and skills of all people over 50 residing in Sheffield, so that they can actively participate in society. We adopt a rights based approach to engagement that supports the interdependence, choice and control of and by older people within Sheffield, membership is free and for life. We continually work on behalf of older people attending as far as possible all the meetings involved in making sure we are aware of everything happening in the City concerning older people.  We make our views known to the statutory and regulatory authorities across Sheffield (for example City Council, NHS Sheffield and Emergency Services) and try to advise them on the impact of service changes at the planning stage.  We then monitor how they are put into practice and how they affect older people by consulting our membership.  We also take part in Government consultations. In particular we aim to: Raise and develop a more positive profile of older people within society through civic activism; Campaign for improvements in the quality and range of services for older people in Sheffield; Enhance the capacity for greater participation and dialogue within local and national policymakers and politicians to secure such improvements; Encourage greater recognition of the varied contributions made by older people; Seek full implementation of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Older People 1991 into the United Kingdom.  The future The overall aim of this organisation is to grow the capacity of the older Sheffield community so they are able to overcome the barriers to social and economic exclusion and thus give 'voice' to their concerns, to inform policy development at the local and ultimately national level.  The activities and focus intended will empower the local community to take the lead in issues relating to older people, defined as all those over the age of 50 in line with the Government publication Opportunity Age published in 2005.  We plan to develop and enhance community based projects and widen community involvement and participation. Moreover, it is our strategic aim to base all our work around the concept of Active Ageing, first promulgated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2002 and reflected in Opportunity Age.  According to the WHO (2002, p. 12) Active Ageing is: ...the process of optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. Active ageing applies to both individuals and groups. It allows people to realise their potential for physical, social, and mental well-being throughout their lives and to participate in society according to their needs, desires and capacities, while providing them with adequate protection, security and care when they require assistance. In the context of our activity Active Ageing must therefore fully encompass (in the words of Opportunity Age) strategic and targeted activity which focuses upon: • age discrimination: taking action to build a society where every individual is able to achieve their potential, free from prejudice and discrimination; • influencing local decisions: ensuring that older people are involved in planning that impacts on them; • safe at home and on the streets: removing the barrier to participation that results from crime and fear of crime; • housing: ensuring that housing is of a decent standard; • transport: ensuring that older people's needs and aspirations are at the centre of local thinking about public transport strategies and providing free, off-peak local area bus travel; • learning: ensuring that older people have fair access to learning opportunities; • leisure: ensuring that older people are encouraged and supported to engage in leisure activities and to utilise local leisure facilities; • volunteering: maximising the opportunities that older people have to become involved in volunteering activities; and • health: promoting healthy living to prevent ill-health that inhibits potential. We shall seek to develop, integrate and implement these within the framework of relevant wider strategies, plans, policies, targets and laws for example . Government legislation on pensions, health and social care, transport etc. Government White and Green Papers SheffieldCity Council Fairness Commission Sheffield's Strategy for an Ageing Population (City for all Ages) We are however conscious that in a period of limited public funding that a more commercial approach is required.  We would therefore welcome any approach for one or more enterprises based in Sheffield who share our vision and would wish to support our activity over the next five years or more. Tony Maltby Chair, Sheffield 50+

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