Older people’s contribution to London

Do you get tired of older people being labelled as “takers” not givers? It’s particularly annoying at a time when we’ve seen some inspirational older people carrying the Olympic Flame, for example a campaigner for accessible transport or the lady who took the Flame to Downing Street 

Age UK London and Greater London Forum for Older People have launched a new campaign to support older people’s contribution to London. We are calling for key public bodies to work with us to establish an annual week in which older people’s contribution to London is recognised and promoted. We also call for a broad recognition of older people as active contributors to society, not just passive recipients of services.

Our report argues that older people contribute to society in a myriad of ways, including:

Caring – Many older people care for their partners, children, grandchildren, friends and neighbours, although they often don’t view themselves as carers. This type of informal caring is estimated to be worth around £30 billion to the state.
Volunteering – Many older people volunteer in schools and hospitals, local community groups and charities. Volunteering of this nature is estimated to be worth around £10 billion to the state.
Influencing – As members of political parties, unions, forums, executive boards, local council infrastructure and local health bodies, older people help to plan for and influence local services. They are also more likely to vote in elections than any other age groups.
Employment – The over 50s make up a significant part of the labour force and one of the largest groups of entrepreneurs. They contribute skills and experience gained over many years to the London economy. Nationally, they contribute billions of pounds in tax revenues to the state.

This is without thinking of all the contributions today’s older people have made throughout their earlier lives.

We want to make sure older people get the credit they’re due for their contribution to London – are you with us?

Gordon Deuchars

Gordon Deuchars joined Age UK London in 2003. His specialist areas are policy, influencing and campaign work to promote older people’s issues in London. He has developed and coordinated campaigns on issues ranging from social care to transport and employment for older people. Before joining Age UK London Gordon was Policy Officer for AGE, the European Older People’s Platform, which he joined in 2001 soon after its launch. Gordon was responsible for developing international networks on issues like pension reform and social inclusion.

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