Who are the Services for Older People Committee?

The Services for Older People Committee (or SOPC) is a dedicated working group of local Brand Partner representatives who work with Age UK to support improvements in the quality and impact of services for older people, their families, carers and communities.

The SOPC brings together local, regional and national service delivery perspective, expertise and advisory capacity that supports development of initiatives, projects or programmes that support achievement of the common goals set out in the current Shared Strategy.

Members are elected or re-elected every two years in accordance with its formal terms of reference.

Your regional SOPC representatives

Click to view your regional SOPC representatives!

Vicky Shepherd

Chair and representative for the North West

CEO, Age UK Blackburn with Darwen

Prior to becoming Chief Executive at Age UK Blackburn with Darwen in 2013, Vicky spent many years in service and community development roles and also developed a number of formal delivery partnerships (and has the scars to show for it!) and in recent years has focussed on developing her organisation’s approach to continuous improvement. Vicky has been involved with the SOPC since its inception nearly 10 years ago and has played an integral role in the committee’s journey toward providing important input and advice on many service developments and activities that benefit the Age UK Network. She is also a trustee of two local charities and is a volunteer for Lancashire Wildlife Trust and also likes to travel the world.

Mark Rounding

Representative Yorkshire and Humber

CEO, Age UK Bradford & District

Mark’s background is in local charity management and in the past has worked locally for Citizens Advice in Selby District and East Yorkshire, Age UK East Riding and has also worked in service development and transformation for Age UK National and the Alzheimer’s Society. He is particularly interested in working with those groups and communities whose voices are often marginalised especially from the BAME, faith and LGBT communities. As CEO at Age UK Bradford District, mark has initiated a journey to embed person centred approaches across all operations. This year the organisation has created 5 community hubs across the district to ensure that it can listen locally to what older people need, either individually or as groups, and build with those communities packages of support based on what they tell us they want rather than what we do. Being part of SOPC is a great opportunity to link into the wider network and learn about all the great activities and services the network offers, the new opportunities and ideas and influencing their development and promoting knowledge sharing.

Brenda Thompson

Representative East Midlands

Director of HR and Charity Support Services, Age UK Lindsey

Representing the East Midlands region Brenda has valued the opportunity to be a part of the SOPC and to support the work plan of the committee.  She enjoys working with the committee who have experience, understanding and knowledge of the issues facing older people and of the network and discussing the variety of matters that are presented at each meeting. With a previous work history in the voluntary sector involving service delivery and a background in HR and Quality Assurance she is particularly looking forward to being involved in the work of the committee and their advisory role in the development of workforce and volunteer training. She had previously managed services within her local Age UK before becoming part of its leadership team.

David Pearce

Representative East

CEO, Age UK Dacorum

After working in the newspaper industry for over twenty years in senior roles, David made the move to the charity sector in Africa working for international charities, building wells and latrines and developing food programmes to enable people to grow sufficient food for themselves and sell any surplus at local markets. After returning to the UK, David took on a number of consultancy roles advising local and national charities. He has been the Chief Executive of a blind charity, during which time he developed and ran a number of services to improve the lives of visually impaired people and wrote the National strategy for Visually Impaired. Since joining Age UK Dacorum in 2014, David has positioned his organisation at the forefront of reducing loneliness and social isolation, providing a wide range of activities, information and advice with ongoing support to some of the most vulnerable people in their community. In his capacity on the SOPC, he likes sharing information, meeting colleagues and linking regional issues to national policies to shape future services. David is married with three children and five grandchildren.

Sue Zirps

Representative South East

CEO, Age UK Surrey

In addition to her role on the SOPC, Sue is also a Director of the Age England Association representing the South East Region and also chairs the South East Regional Congress meetings.  Sue is passionate about giving the network she represents a voice nationally to enable development of services in a way which meets the needs of the older population we all represent.  She enjoys collaborating with colleagues across the country and sharing good practice and experiences.  Sue has had a lot of experience managing and developing services in the past.  She was working for Age Concern Surrey before Age UK came into being and headed up the service division, growing the Help at Home service into a large countywide service providing support to 2500 older people.

Nikki Morris

Representative London

CEO, Age UK Camden

Prior to joining Age UK Camden in 2018, Nikki worked for a regional cancer charity in the role of Deputy Chief Executive. She has also been proud to represent nursing colleagues at a national level working with the Royal College of Nursing as a committee member, leading on the cancer agenda. Nikki is passionate about making a positive difference for people in need and ensuring that those who struggle to get their voice are heard. In her spare time, Nikki enjoys the arts and literature and is a trustee of a group of city schools in Norwich.

Kevin Moore

Representative West Midlands

Director of Operations, Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin

Kevin is Director of Operations at Age UK Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin. He is a relatively new member of the committee and is looking forward to helping to take advantage of the service delivery opportunities arising at this crucial time for the Network. Prior to joining Age UK Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin in 2012, Kevin was a senior manager in the NHS, with a career working in Bristol, London and latterly the West Midlands; this includes hospital and community service management as well as a stint as Director of Pandemic Flu Response for Telford and Wrekin PCT in 2009, gaining experience he never thought would be used again…

Gavin Thomas

Representative Wales

Head of Programmes and Services, Age Cymru

Gavin is an experienced manager and leader in the third sector, with specialisms in the information, advice, guidance and advocacy arenas. He is a strong supporter of the principles of people-centred leadership and client-centred, humanitarian approaches to helping individuals achieve positive outcomes. Joining the SOPC has provided useful opportunities to share experiences and learn in all areas relating to service development and best practices and gain a broader perspective of developments within the Age UK network that he and his organisation wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.

Siobhan Cassy

Representative Northern Ireland

Director Marketing and Business Development, Age NI

Siobhan has over 23 years international marketing, branding and strategic management experience. Siobhan is responsible for marketing, income generation, advice, ICT development, delivery and maintenance of the Management Information Systems. Before joining Age NI, Siobhan worked as a consultant, coach and trainer with hundreds of businesses across Northern Ireland in the areas of marketing and business development and many community groups and public bodies such as Invest NI, local councils and health trusts. Prior to this, she was Director of Corporate Communications of Fruit of the Loom International, where she also held a number of pan-European brand and marketing management roles.

North East – vacant

South West – vacant

Scotland – vacant

Message from the Chair

I have been involved with the Services for Older People Committee since its inception nearly 10-years ago and have seen its journey providing important input and advice on many service development and activities.  I feel that the Committee plays a vital role in ensuring such programmes are relevant and have a positive impact for both the Brand Partner Network and older people, building a constructive partnership with Age UK.  I believe this role will be absolutely crucial as the Network Development Programme continues to deliver it’s workplan and see it as part of the Committees remit to ensure that the delivery of quality, needs led services for older people remain at the heart of what the Network does. I would encourage Brand Partners to utilise your regional SOPC representatives to provide feedback and views on the forthcoming developments related to services so that we hear the widest possible feedback to inform our work and discussions.

Vicky Shepherd, SOPC Chair

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