In order to promote and extend the “Debate of the Age”, Age Concern Gloucestershire arranged a series of public debates in 1999. These debates involved older people, statutory and voluntary agencies, councillors and M P’s.
The concerns and aspirations of older people were collated and the report “The Debate of the Age – The View from Gloucestershire” was launched 11th January 2000. Common concerns that participants wanted an Assembly to address were : –
- Access to health and social care
- Poverty and pension levels
- Lifelong Housing or access to appropriate housing when needed
What we do
• Consult: we organise forums and go out into communities to find out what older people want and need to help them enjoy dignified lives.
• Influence: health and social care providers as well as local, regional and national government are keen to listen to GOPA thereby enabling your voice to influence the future.
• Recruit and train: we recruit and train older people to act asFacilitators to gather information and to help develop stronger links between care homes and their local communities. This year, Facilitators will have a major role in our community engagement activities between older people in Gloucestershire and the County Council and the PCT.
Our volunteers are being consulted by the county and local councils and the health service (Primary Care Trust) on a range wide range of issues affecting health and well being in your community.
In 2007 and 2008, GOPA was a key partner in a major Gloucestershire wide Government funded programme called Partnerships of Older People’s Projects to influence improvements in care homes and to involve older people more in the future of care services. We are now funded to develop this community engagment work further and capitalise on this work.
A Clear Message
But the clearest message of all was that older people felt that they needed a strong collective voice to speak on their behalf. The concept of an Older Persons’ Association received widespread support.
• A Facilitator was appointed and started work on 18th July 2000.
• The organisation was officially launched at the Conference “Inspirations- Creative future for Older People”, 20th & 21st November 2000, at the Cheltenham Racecourse.
In conclusion our KEY MESSAGES are:
- GOPA will continue to act for older people and is run by a committed group of volunteers.
- GOPA – older people being alert to the needs of older people.
- GOPA is committed to working in, and seeking, partnerships across the statutory, private and voluntary sectors.
- GOPA is committed to improving the quality of life for older people