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.
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:
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org.