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!

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

New Physical Activity Hub Launched!

Age UK’s Health and Wellbeing Team have created a Physical Activity Hub on our Wordpress site to house all of the updates relating to physical activity and sport that appear in our e-newsletter Signpost.

We share a variety of communications with you via our e-newsletter Signpost. With that in mind, Age UK’s Health and Wellbeing Team have created a Physical Activity Hub on our WordPress site where all the Signpost updates relating to physical activity and sport can be stored, so that you can refer back to them quickly and easily in the future. Read on to find out more, or click here to visit the Physical Activity Hub. Please note, this Hub is for internal use only.

Our passionate physical activity professionals from across the organisation will use the Physical Activity Hub to house all the relevant physical activity resources, campaigns, funding opportunities, research, events that we share in Signpost to help Partners to keep up-to-date with all that is going on in this ever-growing sector.

Take a look at the physical activity hub below, to see the type of communications that are shared, or click here to sign up for Signpost if you don’t receive it already. You may also want to bookmark the Hub in your internet browser so that you can easily return to it in future. Please note, this Hub is for internal use only.

If you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Barnham or Peter Dutton, Project Managers in the Wellbeing Department at Age UK.

We have set up several Hubs on our WordPress site so far which you may want to take a look at, including a Campaigns Hub, a Network Infrastructure Hub, and an ICS Hub. You can use the pink menu at the top of this page to explore them.

We plan to add more Hubs soon so that Partners can more easily locate news that has been shared in Signpost. If you have any questions or feedback on Partner Communications, including Signpost, the loop, or the WordPress site please get in touch at signpost@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:

Age UK Campaigns Calendar – Second Quarter 2022

Age UK’s External Affairs Team has compiled a campaigns calendar with details on influencing work Age UK will be focusing on in the second quarter of 2022 – including how local partners can get involved.

The second quarterly campaigns calendar from the Age UK External Affairs team is now available below! Covering the months from April to June, the calendar includes details on key Age UK campaigns, including the cost of living campaign ‘It Doesn’t Add Up’ which follows on from the recent Cost of Cold campaign.

The calendar also includes details on the multiple awareness days and weeks coming up over the summer, including Carers Week and Loneliness Awareness Week. Please keep an eye out for how Age UK will be marking these occasions, including providing resources to use at your local Age UK.

As ever, we deeply appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to campaign alongside you!

We hope this will be a helpful tool for you when planning your activities over the next few months. If you have any feedback or queries, or would like to discuss any of these campaigns or support influencing locally, please get in touch with Luke Pilot via luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk.

The Calendar is available to view and download below:

The Chancellor’s visit to Age UK Westminster

On 4th February, Chancellor Rishi Sunak visited Age UK Westminster to meet older people and discuss the government’s package of financial support in response to the rise in energy bills.

On Monday 31st January, Age UK staged a huge and vibrant hand-in of our open letter to the Prime Minister, signed by 97,795 people, at 10 Downing Street. Shortly after, the Treasury contacted us about a possible visit from a senior minister to a local Age UK. Colleagues at Age UK Westminster welcomed the opportunity and worked hard at short notice to facilitate this opportunity for their clients. On Friday 4th February, Chancellor Rishi Sunak visited Age UK Westminster at the Beethoven Centre, to meet older people and discuss the government’s package of financial support in response to the rise in energy bills, announced the day before.

Ofgem’s announcement of a 54% increase in the price cap means consumers will see their annual energy bill increase by nearly £700. The Chancellor announced a reduction in council tax on properties in bands A to D and a £200 rebate on energy bills in the form of a loan.

Older constituents discussed how the rising cost of living is affecting them and their worries about future rises in their energy bills. Many were concerned that they stand to gain little from the reduction in council tax, as they do not live in a property that qualifies, and that the £200 rebate on energy bills is a loan and not a grant. Many older people on low or fixed incomes will still face the stark choice between paying for their heating bills or eating. The older people present were able to challenge the Chancellor on his support package and hope he takes on board their concerns.

Mehfuz Ahmed, CEO at Age UK Westminster, said:

“Older People enjoyed meeting and talking to the Chancellor and took the opportunity to explain difficulties they were experiencing with the rise of the cost of energy. They appreciated the recent announcement of £200 to support the energy rise but the amount is not sufficient to meet, not just the cost of rising energy bills, but cost of living too. Older people also want a longer-term support plan where they don’t have to repay.

Despite the financial support announcement not being sufficient for their peer group, our older people enjoyed meeting and interacting with the Chancellor. It’s not often we get the chance to host a Senior Cabinet Minister so we were very happy to facilitate this visit.”

Age UK is clear that the Chancellor’s package is insufficient and still leaves many older people with a £350 bill that many simply do not have the means to pay for.

Age UK’s Charity Director Caroline Abrahams said:

“With average energy bills now set to rise by a whopping £693 per year – and almost certain to increase further in a few months’ time – the support the Chancellor has announced simply does not go far enough. It will still leave many of these pensioners facing energy costs surging by an extra several hundred pounds that they cannot afford to pay. What does the Government expect them to do? Forgo their heating, ration their food or go into debt? These are the only choices that millions of the less fortunate will face, if they have no savings to draw on or family to help them out.”

Age UK will continue to call for sufficient financial support for older people to stay warm and well in winter as part of the Cost of Cold campaign. We are deeply thankful to colleagues from Age UK Westminster who worked hard to quickly arrange this event.

Age UK Campaigns Calendar – First Quarter 2022

Age UK’s External Affairs Team has compiled a campaigns calendar with details on influencing work Age UK will be focusing on in the first quarter of 2022 – including how local partners can get involved.

In response to requests from the network, the Age UK External Affairs team has compiled a campaigns calendar for the first quarter of 2022! The calendar contains details on areas of influencing Age UK will be focusing on from January until March, including how local partners can get involved. Read on for full details and to access the calendar.

This edition includes details on:

  • The Cost of Cold
  • Social Care
  • Access to Banking
  • Upcoming awareness campaigns

We intend to produce an updated calendar for every quarter, to help with planning some of your influencing and campaigning for the months ahead. If you would like support influencing on these campaigns in your local area, or on any other campaigns, please get in touch with Luke Pilot, Campaigns Officer (Local Influencing).

Feedback on the calendar and its contents is also very welcome. If you have any thoughts or ideas on what should be included next time, please contact luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk.

The Calendar is available to view and download below:

Age UK’s Winter Health Campaign 2021/22 – Local Campaign Packs

Find out all the details of this year’s Winter Health Campaign from Age UK’s Health Influencing Team. Download the Local Campaign Pack below and find the recording of last week’s Winter Webinar.

Age UK’s Health Influencing team is happy to announce the launch of our 2021/22 Winter Health Campaign! The Winter Health Campaign will hopefully play a crucial role in ensuring older people have access to the information, advice, and support that they need to navigate the upcoming winter months. This year, we need your help to engage older people and the wider community on the health issues that are likely to affect them this winter. Find full details below, including a Local Campaign Pack, and the recording of last week’s Winter Webinar.

This campaign will take place between October 2021 and March 2022, with the aim of supporting as many older people as possible through the winter period. Please find below the Age UK Winter Health Campaign local pack, which we hope you will find to be a useful resource to help inform and support your own local winter campaigns this year:


Please get in touch if you have any questions or require any further information. Thank you for supporting the campaign!

Winter Webinar Recording

For those who were unable to attend our Winter Webinar held last week, you can watch the recording of the session below:

Save Free Prescriptions for 60 – 65 year olds – #BitterPillToSwallow Campaign

Age UK has launched the #BitterPillToSwallow Campaign to save Free Prescriptions for 60 – 65 year olds. Find out all about the campaign including how your organisation can get involved.

The Government has launched a consultation on plans to move the qualifying age for free prescriptions from 60 to the State Pension age 66. Although the Government has said its preferred option is that anyone who is 60 or over when the changes are introduced won’t start paying, this change would still mean 60-65 year olds in future will have to pay for their prescriptions if they don’t qualify for certain benefits or have a medical exemption.

We are deeply concerned this will have a major impact on people managing multiple serious or long-term conditions and that older people will be deterred from seeking medical attention for fear of incurring extra costs. This self-defeating policy will only put people at risk of being unable to control long-term medical conditions that if left untreated, will only add to the pressure on the NHS.

No one should be forced to choose between paying their bills or having essential medication. It’s not too late to fight back – but we only have until 2nd September to flood the Department for Health’s consultation with responses.

How you can get involved

We would be very grateful for your help to spread the word on this issue far and wide.

If you have time, please encourage your supporters to respond to the Department for Health’s consultation through our website https://campaigns.ageuk.org.uk/page/87230/action/1?ea.tracking.id=LAUK or they can visit www.ageuk.org.uk/savefreeprescriptions for more information.

Please get in contact with luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk if you would like more information on the campaign.