Age Scotland and the Scottish Older People’s Assembly (SOPA) have called on Scottish local authorities to appoint an older people’s champion to ensure their voices are heard.
Nine local authorities north of the border have already appointed a councillor to the role, but the Age Scotland and SOPA aim to build a network of champions to represent older people’s views and identify issues that affect older people locally.
An older people’s champion would also be involved in communicating council policies that impact older people, including transport, social care, public toilets and community services.
‘The need for older people’s champions has never been greater. With Scotland’s population ageing faster than anywhere else in the UK, it is vital that local decision-making has at its heart the needs of older people,’ said Age Scotland chief executive, Brian Sloan.
‘Just as the Scottish Government has a dedicated minister for older people and equalities, it is time that councils have a role focused solely on older people.
‘We know that many local authority budgets are under pressure, but this role has no budgetary implications and I believe that older people deserve to know someone is standing up for their interests and finding out what they need from local decision makers,’ added Mr Sloan.
‘The impact of Covid-19 on older people has only heightened the case for older people’s champions. The pandemic has had devastating effect on many older people who are struggling to cope with record levels of isolation and loneliness.
‘As we emerge from the unprecedented challenges of the past year there needs to be a clear recovery plan implemented at local and national level, specifically focused on older people who have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Older people’s champions would be integral to that, ensuring that older voices are heard and older people are not excluded from our local democracy.’
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