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Statue mysteriously appears at Age UK Bristol office

Published on 27 April 2018 01:09 PM

Age UK Bristol staff came into work on Monday to find a large statue of an older woman holding a hammer and her handbag in front of the offices. She is standing on a plinth and chained to the bike racks outside. There is a simple inscription of “Ruth” on the back of the statue and an OAP on the front, with the A being an anarchy symbol.

Initially, we had no idea where Ruth came from, she was just here when we came in on Monday morning. However, we have now heard from the artist (who wishes to remain anonymous) that the statue is a tribute to Ruth, who was a fiesty older person who inspired others. The artist is also happy for Age UK Bristol to keep Ruth and it was not a coincidence that she was placed outside our office.

Age UK Bristol loves the statue because Ruth challenges the stereotypical image of older people as helpless, a drain on health services and society generally. This statue is of someone who was very empowered and taking charge and it’s also great to see an older woman shown in such a confident way. We are keen to challenge those stereotypes too. Older people play a big part in Bristol communities and Age UK Bristol alone has over 100 volunteers actively helping others every day. We know how much older people contribute to Bristol.

But of course, some older people do need a bit of help now and again and we are also there to support them. Only last year, our Information & Advice team of 3 staff and 17 volunteers raised £2.1m in additional benefits for older people in Bristol. This is an incredible achievement given that we get no funding from the council or elsewhere to provide this service. With changes to pensions and benefits, more older people are really struggling when they should be enjoying retirement.

Ruth is an inspiration. She is a role model for older people living in this time of austerity and we’re happy to see her here and hope she stays. We are contacting the Council to express our wishes that she stays outside of our offices.

Mark Baker, CEO says “Longer lives are a cause for celebration and many older people in Bristol contribute hugely to making this such a great city to live in. But there is only so much they and we can do. We need statutory services to increase support for older people and the organisations that help them and are hoping to see something on this in the Mayor’s City Plan.”

Age UK Bristol needs everyone’s support. If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer or funder / fundraiser visit our get involved page here: www.ageuk.org.uk/bristol/get-involved/