Giving a Voice to Older People
City & Hackney Older People’s Reference Group has been raising a collective voice for older people to assert their dignity and resist ageism for sixteen years and is the largest older people’s group in the area.
Any local resident over 50 is welcome to join the OPRG. We hold regular large open meetings on important issues for older people with senior policy makers and managers, giving an opportunity for them to explain what they are doing on our behalf and for our members to quiz them on what does not work well in services from their own experience. Recent topics have included: ‘Caring for our Carers’, GP services and housing options for older people. Once a year we hold a larger event with lots of workshops, stalls and opportunities to share experiences.
We are often asked our views on the future of services and organise focus groups and field representatives for procurement panels, to make sure the perspectives of older people are included in any decision affecting us. The work of the Group is led by an Advisory Group composed of members who wish to be a bit more engaged and perhaps represent older people in some area of life.
Ten years ago the OPRG consulted its members and drew up a Dignity Code, which was endorsed by the Mayor and his cabinet, the Homerton Hospital, the East London Foundation Trust and the Clinical Commissioning Group, whose Chair signed the Code in 2013. It acts as a prompt to good behaviour that should be expected anyway, but is not always forthcoming. An OPRG delegation now visits the hospital every year on Dignity Day and the Code appears in annexes to the Council’s contracts.
The OPRG is also proud of its leading role within the Connect Hackney programme. Working in partnership with Hackney CVS, we are working to develop an older-people-led programme to improve the lives of older Hackney residents. With a partnership of voluntary and community groups, health and social care services and the local authority, Connect Hackney aims to reach 15,000 older Hackney residents over the next six years. The OPRG will be working closely with this partnership to ensure Connect Hackney is reaching those most vulnerable and working to prevent and reduce social isolation. Alongside this work, we will continue to campaign for older people to have a greater say in local and national issues, as well as celebrate the incredible contribution older people make to our society.
How to contact us
For more information about the City & Hackney OPRG please email Dino Patel, Project Coordinator or call us on 020 72497149.