Age UK’s Influencing Work During Carers Week and Loneliness Awareness Week 2022

With Carers Week and Loneliness Awareness Week both falling in June, here’s a roundup of Age UK’s influencing work across both weeks.

It’s been a busy month for the whole Age UK Network, with both Carers Week and Loneliness Awareness Week following each other during June! As you know, both weeks are major opportunities to raise awareness of these issues and to highlight the important work that is being done, and more that could be done, to tackle them. Read on to learn about some of the central influencing opportunities we engaged in over these two weeks:

Carers Week – Ensuring Carers Feel Visible, Valued & Supported

Carers Week is delivered by Carers UK alongside Age UK and other charity partners as a celebration of the huge contributions of unpaid carers. This year, the campaign also focused on highlighting the impact of the pandemic on unpaid carers and calling on the Government to create and fund a Recovery & Respite plan.

Age UK’s role is to highlight the role of older carers and ensure the support they need is recognised. As well as arranging for two campaigners to speak with the Minister for Care and the Shadow Minister for Care during online calls, we also attended the Carers Week Parliamentary drop-in for MPs on 8th June.

Norman Philips, who cares for his wife, and Rasila Mehta, who cares for her sister, joined Age UK at the event and spoke to over 21 MPs and Peers about their experiences and the support they need to meet the demands of their roles as older carers. Alongside the more than 6000 campaigners who wrote to their MPs, Norman and Rasila demonstrated just how reliant the Health and Care sectors are on unpaid carers and made a very clear case for the need for immediate Government support.

You can read more about Carers Week and the Recovery & Respite plan here.

Norman Philips, Age UK’s Senior External Affairs Manager Eorann Lean, and Rasila Mehta

Loneliness Awareness Week – Tackling Loneliness with the Minister

We started the week with a webinar, chaired by Darren Henry MP, on supporting those on low incomes to overcome loneliness. We had a fantastic presentation from Jenny Paton at Age UK Wirral on their work with their local hospital trust.

To mark the end of Loneliness Awareness Week, Nigel Huddleston, the Minister responsible for tackling the loneliness agenda, joined a game of walking football in his constituency at Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire last Friday.

He got to see first-hand an example of the amazing work the Age UK Network does to tackle loneliness across the country. Walking football is a great way for players to socialise, while staying active at the same time.

The team spoke with the Minister about why playing means so much to them. Richard told him:

“I’ve made new friends and gotten to know more people. We all stop for a coffee after and have a chat. For those who are getting on or may have lost a partner, it helps with socialising. If someone doesn’t turn up for a few weeks, we reach out on our WhatsApp group.”

Richard, a regular walking football player

The Minister was happy to get stuck in and have a kick about with the team. It’s safe to say he thoroughly enjoyed himself and was very impressed with Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire, saying later:

“it was great to see their inspiring work helping older people make new friends while having fun and getting exercise.”

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society

You can read more on the Age UK Discover blog and see some lovely clips of the visit on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s twitter feed below:

Thank You!

We are deeply thankful to all our campaigners and all the local Age UKs who support unpaid carers and deliver services essential to tackling loneliness in older people. This work is essential for supporting the older people who need us most. Age UK will of course continue campaigning for them, to make sure they get the support they need.

If you have any questions about our campaigning work, please get in touch – luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk.

Carers Week 2022 – Calling for a Recovery and Respite Plan for Carers

As Carers Week continues, we’ve launched a new campaign action, asking our supporters to join the call for a Recovery and Respite plan. Find out how you can spread the word below.

As Carers Week continues, today’s focus is a celebration of older carers. There are more than 2 million older carers providing a vital service to their loved ones in the UK and we have loved working with you to recognise and celebrate everything they do to help others. We’ve launched a new campaign action, asking our supporters to join the Carers Week call for a Recovery and Respite plan. Find out full details below, including how you can spread the word.

Recovery and Respite

Recognising the contributions of carers is only one part of Carers Week. Yesterday we launched a campaigners’ action, asking our supporters to join the Carers Week call for a Recovery and Respite plan that would give carers the break they have needed, but haven’t had, since even before the pandemic began.

Spreading the word on Social Media

We have asked our supporters to write to their MP, asking them to support the delivery of this plan. We would really appreciate you promoting this call too. You can use the following template social media posts.

Twitter:

This #CarersWeek2022 we are calling on the Government to provide a proper respite and recovery plan for unpaid carers.

Join our call and write to your MP today:

https://campaigns.ageuk.org.uk/page/107135/action/1?ea.tracking.id=LAUK

Facebook:

Taking a break should be a normal part of everyone’s daily life. Even before the pandemic, many carers were supporting their loved ones 24/7. After 2 gruelling years, they really need a break, but many still do not have the option.

We are calling on the Government to provide a proper respite and recovery plan for unpaid carers. Join our call and write to your MP here:

https://campaigns.ageuk.org.uk/page/107135/action/1?ea.tracking.id=LAUK

Carers Week Report

The annual Carers Week event also features a brand new report, summarising the experiences of carers over the pandemic and the coming challenges they will need support with, as well as outlining the need for a fully funded Recovery and Respite plan that supports their wellbeing.

Take a look at the report and use the template social media posts in the partner pack to promote it online.

Thank you for all your work delivering events and support during this important awareness week. If you have any queries, please contact luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk. We look forward to celebrating our incredible carers with you!

Cost of Living Campaign Win

We’ve been running our It Doesn’t Add Up campaign calling on the Government to do more to help older people with their energy bills since October. We are really delighted that on 26th May, the Chancellor announced a big package of support, with money specifically targeted at pensioners. A big campaign win for all of us!

Rosie McKearney, Senior External Affairs Manager, said: “Thank you to all of you who played your part in winning this support for older people. We’ve already received lots of emails from people who feel really relieved. This is why we do our jobs!”

We have received the following messages from some of our camaigners:

“I’m so relieved and happy because I will be able to put my lights on which I haven’t been doing since last year and I rely on battery lights.  I only put my heating on the winter just  gone 3 times.”

Age UK campaigner

“Thank you for your efforts over the past few months. Your pressure has paid off, as a 94 year old who will be able to budget for later in the year. How much I will get? I do not know but every little  helps.”

Age UK campaigner

The Chancellor’s package of support will be a relief to many older people, particularly those receiving means-tested benefits or living with a disability.

Pensioners will, at a minimum, receive £700 to help with their bills this year and if they are a disabled pensioner on means-tested benefits, they will get up to £1650. You can read more in our updated guidance here.

We were also relieved to see the Chancellor committed to bringing back the Triple Lock next year and we promise we will hold him to his word.

We know things will still be tough over the coming months, particularly if an older person is just above the threshold for qualifying for benefits, and we will keep fighting for them. We are also aware that the energy bills grant does not help older people living off-grid, in Park Homes or those who use pre-payment metres. We have made it clear a bespoke price cap must be created to support these older people and they need immediate financial support too.

For now, the most important thing to do is for older people to check as soon as possible if they are entitled to additional benefits as it may entitle them to an extra payment if they apply in time.

This really is proof of what we can achieve when we work together. Thank you to everyone across the network of local Age UKs for raising awareness of the cost of living and supporting our It Doesn’t Add UP campaign. Soon we will begin planning how to secure more support for older people as the cost of living crisis continues, to make sure no one is left behind. If you have any queries or would like to be involved, please contact luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk

Loneliness Awareness Week 2022 | 13-17 June

There are lots of ways to get involved with this year’s Loneliness Awareness Week! Find out more below, including some upcoming events!

There are lots of exciting activities going on and ways for you to get involved in this year’s Loneliness Awareness Week! It’s a great chance to connect with others working in the sector to tackle loneliness and promote your services. Read on for some template social media wording to help spread the word, as well as details of our upcoming webinar and the Tackling Loneliness Hub workshop on addressing loneliness in the workplace.

Age UK Reacts to the Chancellor’s Package of the Support to Ease the Cost of Living Crisis

The rising cost of living, including soaring energy bills, has been a major concern for Age UK. We have been extremely concerned about the impact on older people on low and modest incomes, many of whom have faced the stark choice between heating or eating.

An extensive campaign that began with the Cost of Cold campaign and most recently saw the release of Age UK’s It Doesn’t Add Up report, has seen Age UK call for immediate Government financial support for those on low and modest incomes.

We are pleased and relieved that the Government has recognised the extreme risks soaring inflation pose to the health and welfare of pensioners, particularly those on low incomes, and has announced a package of measures on 26th May with the aim of mitigating them.

The package includes:

  • A £650 one off cost of living payment for means tested benefit recipients. The £650 will be split between the summer and autumn and should be delivered through the existing benefits system.
  • People in receipt of disability benefits will receive a disability cost of living payment of £150 in September.
  • The Chancellor has committed to reinstate the Triple Lock next year.
  • Pensioner households will receive a £300 one off increase to the Winter Fuel Payment this winter. People will be eligible for this payment if they are over State Pension age (aged 66 or above) between 19 – 25 September 2022.
  • The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS), consisting of a £200 reduction to energy bills in October, will be doubled to £400. The Government have also proposed removing the repayment levy, meaning consumers will not have to pay the money back, providing all electricity customers in Britain with a reduction on their bills.
  • An additional £500 million for the Household Support Fund, effectively trebling the Scheme to £1.5 billion and extending it to this winter.

“With prices continuing to go up for everything they buy, life is certainly not going to be easy for many older people over the next few months, but the extra support the Chancellor is bringing forward will make a difference and will protect most from the worst of the unprecedented surge in the cost of living they face.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK

“Targeting most of the support on offer to pensioners who receive means-tested benefits, that is Pension Credit, was undoubtedly the right thing to do, but as a result it is more important than ever that every older person who qualifies receives their due. We know that some three quarters of a million are missing out at the moment, so we urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible to put in a claim without delay.”

You can read Age UK’s full response to the Chancellor’s package of support here.

We have updated our guidance on the financial support for older people in response to rising energy prices here. We will have a briefing and analysis of the Chancellor’s announcement available soon too.

We would like to thank everyone across the network of locals Age UK who has been involved in organising and supporting our campaigning on the cost of living crisis. The support of local Age UKs is integral to raising awareness of this issue and ensuring the voices of older people are heard. We look forward to continuing our work with you and making sure older people are not left behind, especially ahead of the next increase in the energy price cap in October.

If you have any queries or want to know how to get involved in the It Doesn’t Add Up campaign, please contact luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk

It Doesn’t Add Up – Urgent New Age UK Report on The Cost Of Living

Age UK’s Campaigns Team have published an urgent new report “It’s Doesn’t Add Up” all about the cost of living crisis. Find out how you can spread the word below.

Age UK has published an urgent report on the rising cost of living, calling on the Government to provide immediate financial support for pensioners. Find out full details of the “It Doesn’t Add Up” report below, including how your organisation can help to spread the word.

The new report, “It Doesn’t Add Up”, warns that those on the very lowest incomes are spending almost a fifth (18 per cent) of their after-tax household income on energy bills because of April’s price cap rise, with one in three older households (29 per cent) in England ‘fuel-stressed’.

Life is fast becoming unaffordable for many older households on low and modest incomes, with millions unable to pay for basic items, according to the new report published today.

The report calls for the Government to commit to the following measures to help those on low and modest incomes:

  • Raising the level of benefits and the State Pension during this financial year so they keep pace with inflation.
  • Targeting a direct one-off payment of £500 to those on the lowest incomes to help mitigate the impact of energy price rises.
  • Introducing improved social tariffs into the energy market.
  • Doing more to ensure everyone eligible for benefits such as Pension Credit receives their entitlement.

Social Media Templates

We are anticipating a major announcement imminently from the Government on new measures to help those on low and modest incomes to face the rising cost of living.

It would really help build pressure on the Government and raise awareness of the challenges facing older people if you could share the report and the policy calls with your supporters.

You can use the following template social media posts to promote the report:

Twitter

Tweet 1:

Older people on low and modest incomes are struggling to make ends meet. Prices of everyday items are going up so quickly that they risk being totally overwhelmed.

Age UK’s new report #ItDoesntAddUp calls on the Government to act now: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/campaigning/it-doesnt-add-up/#:~:text=At%20Age%20UK%2C%20we%20are,they%20risk%20being%20totally%20overwhelmed

Tweet 2:

“I have cut out eating lunch as I need to reduce my food bill, some days having only one meal a day.”

Millions of older households won’t have enough money to cover essentials this year. Age UK’s report #ItDoesntAddUp calls for immediate Government support:

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/campaigning/it-doesnt-add-up/#:~:text=At%20Age%20UK%2C%20we%20are,they%20risk%20being%20totally%20overwhelmed

Facebook

We are concerned about how the rising cost of living is affecting older people on low and modest incomes. Prices of everyday items are going up so quickly that they risk being totally overwhelmed. Age UK’s new report #ItDoesntAddUp calls on the Government to act now and support those most at risk during the #CostOfLivingCrisis:

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/campaigning/it-doesnt-add-up/#:~:text=At%20Age%20UK%2C%20we%20are,they%20risk%20being%20totally%20overwhelmed

Carers Week 2022 – Partner Pack

With Carers Week approaching, Age UK’s Campaigns Team have put together a list of ways that local Age UKs can get involved.

This year, Carers Week will take place from 6th – 12th June and will focus on ensuring that carers are Visible, Valued and Supported. To support your participation in the week’s festivities, we have detailed some ways local Age UKs can get involved below, including some infographics and template wording for social media and a template letter to local media.

As you know, Carers Week is an annual celebration of the role unpaid carers have in providing thousands of hours of care to friends family and loved ones and also a chance to focus on how they could be better supported.

The theme for this year’s awareness week is ensuring carers are Visible, Valued and Supported. As well as highlighting the important work of unpaid carers, the coalition of charities delivering Carers Week will call on the Government to implement a proper plan to provide respite and recovery for unpaid carers who rarely, if ever, get a break.

To support your participation in the week’s festivities, we have detailed below some ways local Age UKs can get involved. Don’t forget to promote the services and incredible work you do to support carers!

If you have 5 minutes…

Add Carers Week activities to the website

Are you running an activity during Carers Week? Add it to the Carers Week website.

Whether your activity is online, or you are running a face-to-face event, make sure everyone knows how to get involved.

If you have 10 minutes…

Promote Carers Week online

Use Carers Week 2022 as an opportunity to share the experiences of older carers and to promote your services and events for carers.

Use these graphics featuring statistics about older carers to highlight the experience of older carers in the UK.

Use your social media accounts to highlight your carers services and to promote any events you might be delivering during the week. You can also find template Facebook and Twitter posts, focusing on older carers and to promote your services, here.

You can also find official Carers Week graphics and resources for download here.

If you have longer…

Send a letter to editor

Use this template letter to editor to write to your local newspaper and highlight the experiences of carers and the need for a proper recovery and respite plan to ensure they get the breaks they need.

Your local newspaper may have a long lead-in time, so try and submit the letter as soon as possible, but be clear the letter is for publication during Carers Week (6th – 12th June). The letter is embargoed until 00:01 on 6th June.

Storytellers

Do you know any carers or older people who are supported by an unpaid carer who would be willing to share their story? Please let us know if you know any possible storytellers and if they would be willing to provide a quote for your Carers Week promotion.

Get in touch!

We will have more materials to share with you once the Carers Week report is ready to be published. In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk.

Age UK’s Briefing and Statement Following the Queen’s Speech

Following the Queen’s Speech, Age UK’s Influencing Team sent a briefing and statement to MPs yesterday. You can view both the briefing and statement below.

In response to the Queen’s Speech, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:

“We were pleased that the Government committed to bringing forward legislation on mental health, rental reform and the energy price cap, but disappointed that a Bill to enact the Government’s promise to give unpaid carers the right to five days unpaid leave each year was absent.

We are also worried that an unintended consequence of the Government’s proposed Bill of Rights will be a weakening of the protections available to older people when their human rights are breached, for example, in a care home. The pandemic demonstrated a pressing need to extend and strengthen older people’s rights, especially if they are in vulnerable situations, so we will be urging Ministers to take this fully into account as they develop their reforms.

We would have liked the Government to have said more in the Speech about how they intend to help older people on low fixed incomes cope with soaring prices. This, together with long NHS waiting lists and problems accessing their GP, is the topic that older people tell us is worrying them the most.

That said, confirmation that the energy price cap will be extended beyond 2023 and a new law will be introduced to protect access to cash – both measures that we’ve been calling for – are very welcome.”  

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK

You can read the full briefing sent to MPs below:

Cost of living Survey – It Doesn’t Add Up Campaign

To support the new “It Doesn’t Add Up” campaign, Age UK’s Campaigns Team have created a survey to hear the experiences of older people who are worried about the rising cost of living.

“It Doesn’t Add Up” is Age UK’s follow up to the Cost of Cold campaign, continuing the call for immediate and sufficient support for older people as the cost of living rises to unprecedented levels. To support the campaign, we have created a survey to hear the experiences of older people who are worried about the rising cost of living. We would be really grateful if you could share the survey with your networks – you can find full details below along with some template social media wording.

We know many older people, particularly those on low and fixed incomes, are struggling to make ends meet. Soaring energy bills were just the beginning, with the cost of food and fuel, among other necessities, on the rise.

Age UK is campaigning for the Government to provide the necessary support older people need to avoid struggling. We’re looking to hear from older people worried about the rising cost of living and making sacrifices in order to pay their bills. With this insight, we can inform the Government how rising costs are affecting older people and what sort of support will help.

We would really appreciate it if you could share this survey with the older people you support to help us gain this important insight. Together we can make sure the older peoples’ voices are heard.

Thank you as always, for your support. If you have any questions about the survey or the It Doesn’t Add Up campaign, please contact Luke Pilot.

Template Social Media Wording

You can use the following template wording and infographic to share the survey on social media, on your website, or in your newsletter:

Twitter:

If you are worried about the rising cost of living, we want to hear from you. Complete our short survey to tell us how you are making ends meet and how #ItDoesntAddUp We’ll use your feedback to campaign for more Government support.

https://campaigns.ageuk.org.uk/page/104756/data/1?ea.tracking.id=LAUK

Facebook:

We want to hear from older people about how the rising cost of living is affecting you and the sacrifices you are having to make. If you or an older person you know is worried about the rising cost of living, please complete our short survey. We will use the insight you give us to show the Government how older people are being affected and what needs to be done to support you.

https://campaigns.ageuk.org.uk/page/104756/data/1?ea.tracking.id=LAUK

Infographic:

Local Elections 2022 – Campaigning Guidance and Template Letter to Candidates

An update from Age UK’s Campaigns Team on the upcoming Local Elections on 5th May, including guidance from the Charity Commission, a template letter to candidates, and social media wording.

With local elections happening across London and parts of England on 5th May, here’s a campaigning guide from Age UK’s Campaigns Team. Read on for details on the Charity Commission’s guidance on campaigning and political activity, as well as access to a template letter to candidates and some social media wording.

Local elections are happening across London and parts of England on 5th May. All councillors in all London boroughs, as well as elections for councillors in some Metropolitan boroughs, District Councils, Unitary authorities and the Somerset and North Yorkshire County Councils, will take place. The Mayor for the South Yorkshire Combined Authority will also be elected. You can check on the Electoral Commission website what elections are taking place near you.

As ever, charities must ensure they adhere to the Charity Commission’s guidance on campaigning and political activity. This means charities must not endorse candidates or campaign to influence the outcome of an election. To ensure they remain neutral, Charities must also consider:

  • How to respond to requests by candidates to visit your events or services.
  • How to limit any association between a particular political party and your charity if a member of staff is running as a candidate.

Age UKs based in London may want to use Age UK London’s resources for engaging with candidates, which includes a template letter and a manifesto.

Engaging candidates

You might want to email candidates in these elections to highlight the issues older people face locally and ask for a commitment from candidates to tackling these issues.

Alternatively, you might want to engage newly elected councillors once the results have been announced. It would be helpful to build relationships with local councillors and the leader of your council once they are in position, perhaps by inviting them to attend one of your services.

If you would like to write to candidates ahead of the elections and promote issues facing older people, you can use the template letter below. We recommend highlighting two or three issues that are impacting older people locally or that your Age UK has been working on tackling.

Social Media Wording

If you would like to promote participation in local election voting, you can share the “Where Do I Vote?” tool to help people identify their polling station.

You can also promote this on Twitter:

Local elections are taking place today! Don’t forget to cast your vote – you can find your polling station here: wheredoivote.co.uk/

And on Facebook:

Local elections are taking place today! There are multiple council positions being elected and this is your chance to ensure older peoples’ voices are heard. You can check where your polling station is here: wheredoivote.co.uk/

For any support with your local election activity and engaging candidates, please contact luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk.