Those of us over 55 make up a fifth of the UK population. But do we in later life have a big enough say in the decisions that affect our lives? Make your voice heard by joining an independent local forum.
Age UK has contact with more than 250 local older people’s forums in England. Through being a member of an independent forum, people in later life are making their voices heard on the issues that matter to them, influencing the planning and provision of services locally, regionally and nationally.
About local forums
Local forums vary in size - from small groups to those with thousands of members, but they all have a number of features in common: they are all independent organisations that give people in later life a collective voice, influencing decision-makers on matters that impact on everyday life.
The forums are democratic and inclusive; they are run independently by older people, for older people. All members are volunteers.
In the local forums, people in later life decide their own agenda, share information and raise issues of concern. As well as campaigning, they often have social activities, run trips and hold open meetings: socialising, meeting new people and keeping in touch with local news.
Support for local forums
'Are you listening?' booklet on engaging older people
This booklet has been produced to share good practice on the effective engagement of older people. Stemming from our work with older people’s forums over many years, it demonstrates the value of forums and a wide range of other engagement initiatives.
Download the 'Are you listening?' booklet (PDF 5 MB)
Many of the local forums have their own websites to share information with others. To find out more, please visit the links below:
Blackburn with Darwen Older People’s Forum
'Helping people over 50 in Blackburn with Darwen to enjoy active and fulfilling lives.'
Cambridgeshire Older People's Enterprise Forum (Cope)
'Sign-posting, discussion, consultation, co-ordinating and campaigning: anyone living in Cambridgeshire is welcome to join Cope and add to our voice.'
Croydon Older People's Network (Open)
'Have a voice in Croydon with Open and get right to the heart of the decision-making process by bringing your life's experience to work for your community.'
Dorset Fiftyplus Forums
'Local, independent action groups in Dorset, run by people over 50 to improve our quality of life, provide a social network and have fun!'
Eastbourne Seniors Forum
'A voice for the over 50s. Membership is open to everyone over 50 who lives or works in Eastbourne and the surrounding area.'
Elders Council of Newcastle
'A voluntary organisation run by and for older people in Newcastle.'
Enfield Borough Over 50s Forum
'A non-party political organisation working with local bodies to improve the quality of life for Enfield's older people.'
Gateshead Older People's Assembly
'We speak up for all older people in Gateshead; we are their voice.'
Holbeach Seniors' Link
'A forum to represent older people’s interests in the eastern half of South Holland.'
Meridian Mature Citizens Forum
'Open to any local organisation dealing with the concerns of older people and to older people living in the Meridian and Downs areas.'
Shropshire Association of Senior Citizen Forums
'Bringing the needs of older people in Shropshire to the attention of policy makers.'
Southampton Pensioners' Forum
'A local non-party political voluntary group, run by and open to older people in Southampton and the surrounding area.'
Telford and Wrekin Senior Citizens' Forum
'Meeting regularly to discuss issues of concern to older people in Telford and Wrekin and take appropriate action.'
Watford Senior Citizens Forum
'A powerful voice to speak up for older people in Watford at local and national level, and to get things done.'
Wealden Senior Citizens' Partnership
'An independent, voluntary community group for older people in Wealden, helping us enjoy active and independent lives.'
Wolverhampton Over 50s Forum
'An independent, non-party political organisation of older people in Wolverhampton, working with government to see that we are heard.'