Older People's Champions
Age Scotland believes that every one of Scotland’s 32 local authorities should appoint a Councillor as an Older People’s Champion. We are working with the Scottish Older People’s Assembly (SOPA) on a joint campaign to make this happen.
With a growing older population, it is vital that local decision-making in Scotland meets the needs of older people.
Just as the Scottish Government has a dedicated Minister for Older People and Equalities, Councils should have a role focussing on older people.
What is an Older People’s Champion?
An Older People’s Champion is an ambassadorial role, held by an elected Councillor. Their job is to be a link between the council and older people in the local area.
Older People’s Champions identify the issues impacting people locally. They are the face of the council for older people and amplify their voices within the council chamber.
You can find a full job description for the role by clicking here.
Why are they important?
Local authorities are responsible for providing and supporting many services which older people rely on – such as public transport, social care provision, planning and community services.
With many local authority budgets under pressure, older people need someone specifically tasked with standing up for their interests and finding out what they need from local decision makers.
We believe the impact of COVID-19 on older people has only heightened the case for Older People’s Champions, who will play a vital role in amplifying the voices of older people in their areas as we recover from the pandemic.
How many are there?
There are currently Older People’s Champions in 14 council areas:
- Dumfries & Galloway
- Dundee City
- East Ayrshire
- North Ayrshire
- North Lanarkshire
- Scottish Borders
- South Ayrshire
- South Lanarkshire
- West Lothian (the Champion will be chosen at the next full council meeting)
Several of these Champions have joined SOPA, which provides a space for them to network and share best practice to benefit older people.
What needs to happen?
SOPA and Age Scotland want to see a network of 32 Champions – one from every local authority area – which will be able to feedback on the views of older people directly to the Scottish Government.
We will be asking councils who do not currently have a Champion to establish the position and seeking support for the role from the Minister for Older People and COSLA (the national association of Scottish councils).
Age Scotland is also developing a package of support for Champions – including regular updates about our work and information about issues which impact older people in their local area.
Want to get involved?
We need your help to spread the word about our campaign to help us convince every local authority to establish the role.
If you are a Councillor who interested in becoming an Older People’s Champion, please get in touch.
Age Scotland can offer:
- A basic role descriptor
- Information and advice on issues affecting older people
- Access to a network of Older People’s Champions from across Scotland