The Elders Council evolved out of an organisation called The Older People’s Network and is Newcastle's older people's forum. We have been operating as The Elders Council since 2001.
In May 2002 we received a £43,000 grant from the Northern Rock Foundation, securing our immediate future.
In June 2003 the Elders Council published a strategy called The Way Ahead, which looked at how older people’s quality of life in Newcastle could be improved. That strategy was later backed and funded by Newcastle City Council.
“It’s amazing how all our different views can be brought together in one recommendation.”
The Elders Council of Newcastle has more than 2,000 members aged 50+, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Our role as the voice of older people in Newcastle is carried out through our working groups, which address issues that matter to older people across the city.
The current working groups are:
- Transport and Highways Group: Looks at issues including the cost of travel and the quality of bus services.
- Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods: Key messages from a number of different projects/workshops which members have participated in shows that having a warm, comfortable home in a neighbourhood where you feel safe, supported and can access basic facilities is really important to older people. There is a wealth of information, ideas and topics that the group would like to now explore.
- The Older Person Friendly City Group: Undertakes surveys of everything from pelican crossing times to public toilets with the aim of making the city centre easier for older people to use.
- Health and Social Care: This group meets monthly to look at health and social care as well as broader issues like active ageing or crime and community safety.
- Communication Group: Comments on leaflets from different agencies with the aim of making sure that materials are clear and easy to read; broadcasts its own radio programme, 'Everyone's tomorrow - today!'; and is also responsible for publishing the Elders Council newsletter six times a year. And we oversee this website.
- Learning and Culture Group: Makes sure that older people have plenty of opportunities to stay active in mind and body.
- Outreach Group: Produces publicity material and organises talks about the Elders Council to older people’s groups across the city.
“It’s good to get involved in things such as surveys and discussions and realise that we really can make a difference.”
2011 - An Older and Safer Day was held in April, at which approximately 100 participants addressed questions concerning their feelings of safety both when at home and when out and about. Subsequently a report was produced.
The Elders Council worked in partnership with Newcastle City Council's Let's Talk programme to host an event to enable a wide cross-section of older people to work on what makes Newcastle an age-friendly city.
Newcastle signed up to the Dublin Declaration on Age-friendly Cities and Communities on 2 November 2011. This was followed by a very successful Policy Cabinet on Promoting Active Ageing on 9 November. Over 80 people (including older people and agencies and Newcastle City Council's Policy Cabinet) attended and participated in a wide-ranging discussion on how we can move forward together on making Newcastle an age-friendly city.
2010 - Launch of 'Just What I Need' (JWIN) campaign. The Elders Council contribution has been the establishment of a group of volunteers to present JWIN information to community groups.
Intergenerational Fashion event was held.
'Fun in the Sun' outdoor activities event held in Heaton Park.
Joint meeting with Gateshead Older People's Assembly.
2009 - A programme of Older and Wiser Information Days. Topics included: Power of Attorney, Keeping Warm, the Arts, and Living Independently.
International Day for Older People on 1 October was marked by 'Image' an exhibition of older people's creative activities as part of the week’s Older Persons’ Festival.
Publication of the Transport and Highways Working Group's 'Summer outings in 2009 with a concessionary bus pass' leaflet, which gave members ideas of where they could go in a day by using their bus-pass.
2008 - Charity Commission granted the Elders Council charitable status.
An Older People's Strategic Board was set up.
In July the Elders Council hosted a visit from Baroness Andrews (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for State with responsibility for strategy for an ageing society).
Publication of the Older Person Friendly City 'Parks and Recreation Areas' report which encouraged use of parks by older people.
2007 - Launch of Information NOW (Newcastle Older People’s Website) – a comprehensive information resource bank for older people.
Launch of 'Everyone's Tomorrow' a strategy for older people and an ageing population in Newcastle. The Elders Council was very heavily involved in consultations with older people and others about the strategy.
Publication and launch of the Older Person Friendly City Working Group's report on the Older Person Friendly City Centre.
2006 - Senior Games Week - We worked with Newcastley City Council's Year of Exercise and Sport and invited people from Austria, Ireland, France, Denmark, Scotland and Turkey to join us to celebrate. The weather was glorious and the events from abseiling to dancing were enjoyed by everyone. The Mayoress met our visitors and gifts were exchanged. Definitely a great success. See our report and photographs in Publications/Reports.
2005 - Launch of the DVD “Life on Shields Road”
A similar project about the Shields Road area of Newcastle’s East End including memories of how the area used to look and older people’s thoughts and views on how the area could be made to thrive again.
2004 - Launch of the video “Newcastle Past Present and Future”
An arts project where members of the Elders Council worked with photographer Sharon Bailey and storyteller Pascale Konyn to produce a DVD of their own photographs and thoughts about the city centre.
2003 - Publication of the first Older Person’s Friendly City Centre report
This report looked at how Newcastle city centre was suitable for and accessible to older people and covered issues including public toilets and seating. You can read the report by clicking into our Publications/Reports section.
Publication of “The Way Ahead” Action Plan and presentation to the City Council
"The Way Ahead" is a strategy drawn up by us to improve older people's quality of life in Newcastle. Newcastle City Council accepted "The Way Ahead" plan and now contributes to funding the Quality of Life Partnership, a group of organisations that work together to make life better for older people.
2002 - “Image” conference and exhibition at St James’ Park
A conference and exhibition organised by the Elders Council examining the needs of older learners and attended by more than 1,000 people.
The Older Person Friendly City Working Group published it's 'Older Person Friendly Supermarket' report
The Elders Council and the Quality of Life Partnership
The Elders Council is a vital part of The Quality of Life Partnership, a body that brings together older people in Newcastle with the people who make decisions that affect their lives.
The partnership is controlled by a Steering Group made up of members of the Elders Council Board and representatives from Newcastle Healthy City and Age UK Newcastle.
Current projects being worked on by the partnership include:
- Active Ageing programme – this wide-ranging programme is trying to ensure that older people are given the opportunity to take part in fun, interesting and challenging activities which help them to lead healthy, active lives
- Trades Register – a comprehensive database helping older people find friendly tradespeople they can trust
Everyone's Tomorrow - The Strategy for Older People and an Ageing Population in Newcastle upon Tyne
The Quality of Life Partnership and Newcastle City Council have published Everyone's Tomorrow - The Strategy for Older People and an Ageing Population in Newcastle upon Tyne, with the support of the Elders Council of Newcastle, Newcastle Primary Care Trust and Age Concern Newcastle amongst others.
The Quality of Life Partnership's website is now live and is available at www.qualityoflife.org.uk . It gives information about the work of the partnership to improve the quality of services for older people and to address health inequalities. It includes a range of useful resources such as publications and information about forthcoming events.