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, Age Scotland and SOPA think councils should have a role focusing 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 services which many older people use frequently – 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 20 council areas:
- The City of Edinburgh
- Dumfries & Galloway
- Dundee City
- East Ayrshire
- North Ayrshire
- North Lanarkshire
- Perth & Kinross
- Scottish Borders
- South Ayrshire
- South Lanarkshire
- West Lothian
- West Dunbartonshire
Older People's Champions campaign
We have engaged with all of the councils who do not currently have a Champion to ask them to establish the position. We are also seeking support for the role from the Minister for Equalities and Older People and COSLA (the national association of Scottish councils).
Since our campaign began, the number of Older People's Champions has risen and now more than half of councils have one - but there's much more to do and we need your help to get there.
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.
Older People's Champions Gatherings
As part of our campaign, Age Scotland and SOPA are developing a network of Older People's Champions which meets regularly. This group is a space for older people’s issues to be raised at both a local and national level and somewhere councillors can work together on shared challenges to collectively influence change. All the current Champions are invited to attend this network, and we eventually want to build up to have representation from every one of Scotland's 32 councils.
Are you a Councillor who is interested in becoming an Older People’s Champion?
If you represent one of the local authorities who do not have a Champion, we'd love to hear from you.
We can provide:
- A role description (and the option to be put in touch with another Older People's Champion for a discussion)
- More information about the campaign and why we believe the role is essential
- Invitiations to a network of Older People’s Champions from across Scotland
- Information and advice on issues affecting older people
- Access to Age Scotland's team of regionally based Community Development Officers
To find out more about the campaign or becoming a Champion, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.