Welcome to the first Newsletter of 2013.
I am delighted to introduce this newsletter – the first for 2013 and for what promises to be a new and exciting chapter in the history of the Gloucestershire Older Persons’ Association (GOPA).
GOPA was established in 2000. We are a registered charity, administered by five trustees, with membership open to individuals over 50 years of age living in Gloucestershire as well as organisations working with and/ or supporting older people. Our objects can be summarised as:
- To promote the benefit of older people in Gloucestershire who are affected by the issues of ageing, by working in partnership with local authorities, voluntary organisations and older people.
- To advance the education of older people in Gloucestershire through the development of activities that develop individual capabilities, competencies, skills and understanding about the issues of ageing.
Since the closure of our office in Gloucester in April 2012 the trustees have considered whether there is a need for an organisation such as GOPA. After discussions with a range of partner organisations the trustees are convinced there is a need – and that is to represent the many voices of older people in Gloucestershire. However, if we are to meet that need we have first to rebuild our membership base, recruit volunteers and ensure the board of trustees represents the experience, background and lifestyle of all older people across the county.
In this newsletter we are reporting on a number of projects we are leading or supporting at the present time. We would like to help promote the work being carried out by other organisations – either in future issues of the newsletter or on our website (www.gopa.org.uk).
I would like to throw down a challenge – are you over 50 years of age or working for an organisation working with or on behalf of older people in Gloucestershire? If so, would you consider joining GOPA as a member, volunteer or trustee? We would be delighted to hear from you – e-mail GOPA4672@hotmail.co.uk or telephone 01452 830752.
Chair of Trustees
A brief summary of some of the activities that GOPA is carrying out at the present time:
STROUD DISTRICT OLDER PERSONS’ FORUM
The forum comprises representatives from Stroud District Council, organisations working with and on behalf of older people and individuals. We meet approximately every 6 weeks at Ebley Mill and discuss issues affecting older people; share news and stories and invite speakers to give presentations.
The meeting is chaired by Pamela Tawse, one of our trustees.
TEA AND TELL
Since the beginning of the year we have been running a series of consultation events with older people under the theme of ‘Tea and Tell’ – we provide the tea and cake and you tell us your experience of the ageing journey. To date we have held 15 sessions with over 175 people attending. We have been given a lot of information from local residents; heard some interesting experiences and increased our knowledge of the practical issues facing many older people.
We would like to hear from organisations prepared to host a ‘Tea and Tell’ session – particularly those representing seldom heard/hard to reach members of our community.
FAIR SHARES AND THE GLOUCESTERSHIRE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER
As a result of the success of the ‘Tea and Tell’ sessions we have been commissioned by Fair Shares and the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner to organise similar events in Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean (unfortunately at the present time we do not have the resources to organise any in the Cotswolds). Three sessions has already taken place and at the time of writing another six have been booked.
REPRESENTING THE VIEWS AND EXPERIENCES OF OLDER PEOPLE
A number of our trustees attend consultation and other events on a regular basis in order to represent the many voices of older people. We will be reporting on some of those events in future issues of the newsletter.
Are you interested in becoming a member of GOPA? If so please download an application form from our website www.GOPA.org.uk; e-mail GOPA@hotmail.org.uk or telephone 01452 830752. We need your support if we are to represent the voices of older people in Gloucestershire.