Welcome to the first in a series of blogs highlighting the work of the Greater Manchester Older People’s Network (GMOPN). My role within Macc involves working with the network in partnership with Ambition for Ageing to develop a voice for older people and influence strategies affecting their lives. Here’s a peek at last weeks’ older peoples hustings event with invited Greater Manchester mayoral candidates.
‘We’re going to grill the Greater Manchester mayoral candidates!’
……‘I meant ask them questions’, hope you’re ready for us!’ said Marie from Rochdale as she opened the hustings organised by the Greater Manchester Older People's Network. Ripples of laughter ran through the audience, but joking aside I got a strong sense that this was a unique opportunity to influence a new incoming GM Mayor.
Transport, health and care, homes and democracy - big topics for the audience as well as the new mayor was the focus of the day. An enthusiastic audience of over 60 older people from across Greater Manchester questioned candidates on what they would do to: improve access to transport, increase support to people affected by dementia and their carers, ensure age friendly homes are built to meet the aspirations and needs of our ageing population, increase older people's involvement in decision making, and ensure older people are valued and given the opportunity to use their skills and experience, rather than being inappropriately written off as 'burdens' and 'bed blockers' destined for care homes.
Older Peoples Hustings Panel, left to right: Will Patterson (Green Party), Andy Burnham (Labour); Jamil Abdulkader
(co-chair) Mary Duncan (Chair); Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrat); Sean Anstee (Conservative); Marie Douglas
(GM Older People’s Network Rep on the Ambition for Ageing Programme Board), held at Cross Street Chapel, Manchester on 28 March 2017.
A question to the panel from Yogesh Virmani
A cheer rang out when candidates made commitments to develop ongoing dialogue with older people after the election. A pledge to set up regular meetings with the GM Older People's Network got everyone's attention. 'Most of that's been caught on film so we're going to hold them to it!' said Marie. I'm sure she's right.
We plan to share more details of what was discussed at the hustings over the forthcoming weeks in the lead-up to the GM mayoral election on 4 May. Watch this space!
Interested in hearing more, and being involved in the GMOPN conversations on devolution?
• Take part in the ongoing conversation at #GMOPNHustings
• Check out what the GMOPN would like to see for a devolved Greater Manchester: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8QGFfc9RYU www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lry6uJllVA0
• Get involved in the GM Older Peoples Network, open to all GM residents aged 50 plus - www.manchestercommunitycentral.org/policy-and-influence/gm-older-peoples-network
• Find out more about the Ambition for Ageing Programme and hear about the work involving older people across Greater Manchester: www.ambitionforageing.org.uk