Celebrating Age: Experience and Aspiration
Blackpool’s Older Adults Strategy
Equality and Involvement
Housing and Neighbourhoods
Leisure, Lifelong Learning And Work And Economic Activity
Health and Social Care
Getting in Touch
My role as Blackpool Council’s Champion for Older People is to make sure that people over 50 are considered in the development of all local services and to encourage their involvement in planning and reviewing those services.
Representing the interests of such a diverse group of people is an interesting challenge and one which I enjoy very much.
This strategy is unique as it truly aims to be voice of the people and both the Council officers and those from our partner organisations have learned a lot from the process of gathering and responding to the views of the people who took part in the consultation exercise.
I would like to thank everyone who gave their time and commitment to creating this document and look forward to being involved in improving the quality of life of people over 50 in Blackpool.
Cllr Tony Lee – Older People’s Champion (Photograph)
“What do I want to be doing in ten years time? I want to have the same busy, interesting life that I have now!”
The population of Blackpool is getting older. Our older people are a diverse group aged 50 to 100+, spanning three generations and with a wealth of experience and knowledge. When you meet Blackpool’s older people you will find that they are direct, witty, supportive, angry, dedicated, contentious, frightened, adventurous, traditional, forward thinking, exciting and challenging.
Some of them may be frail or incapacitated by disability or illness, but most of them will not be. In short they are the same as any other group in the town and they deserve to have the same respect, quality of life and opportunities as anyone else.
We need to plan for the changing needs, expectations and aspirations of an ageing population. People themselves will also need to plan their lives accordingly, and make decisions earlier in life which will allow them to enjoy their increasing older years.
This strategy is aimed at service providers but has been shaped and influenced by Blackpool’s older people. It captures the main areas of concern for people living in Blackpool aged over 50 so that they can be addressed and resolved over the next ten years. Most importantly it is a commitment to consider the needs of older people as part of the planning and development of the local community.
In some instances the concerns may have already been resolved, however, the people we talked to were not aware of the work being done or the potential impact of other Council plans on their lives. We need to close the gap between the experiences and perceptions of older people and the reality of the work being done to improve local services and the local environment.
The strategy will be monitored by a subgroup of the Council’s Social Inclusion group. Each area of the strategy will have a nominated lead who will report back on the progress made over the life of the strategy.
Developing this strategy
In 2005 Blackpool Council, in partnership with Age Concern, launched the Senior Voice Forum at the first Blackpool Older People’s Conference. The Senior Voice Forum was set up to bring together people aged 50+ who lived in Blackpool. Since then the Forum has gone from strength to strength and at the time of writing (November 2007) has around 120 members.
Membership is drawn from all over Blackpool and brings together a wide range of experience and expertise. The members of the Forum are increasingly being involved in planning and developing services in the Council and other agencies and are becoming a key force in the re-development of Blackpool.
In February 2006 representatives of the Senior Voice Forum met with the Council’s Senior Management Group and representatives of Blackpool Primary Care Trust. The meeting was facilitated by Better Government for Older People (BGOP) and Mervyn Eastman, UK Director of BGOP gave the key note speech. For the event the Senior Voice Forum produced a DVD in which older people discussed what they thought of Blackpool and the services available. Following the presentations there was a group work session facilitated by BGOP representatives and members of the Senior Voice group.
The results of that workshop were taken to the second Older People’s Conference and a document produced that highlighted the differences between the Council’s view of what older people wanted and those of older people themselves.
The consultation work continued through 2006/07 and this document is the result of a number of workshops held between members of the Forum and officers or Blackpool Council, with representatives of other statutory, voluntary and private services.
On completion of the workshops the findings were collated and sent out to groups in Blackpool who had an interest in services for people over 50. They were asked to look at the findings and add anything that they thought may have been missed out.
On the whole, the work with Senior Voice seems to have hit all the right areas of concern. Of those comments returned, the majority endorsed the issues that had been raised by the workshops and where there was additional information, it was not about what should be addressed but tended to be ideas for how it should be addressed.
Although the content of this strategy is divided to reflect the workshop topics, there is inevitably some overlap between the themes, for example two important issues in the Housing section are the need for good transport links and social care at home.
The development of this strategy has highlighted opportunities for new or closer working relationships within the Council and between partner organisations, helping to bring together the senior managers across the Council and in other agencies to listen to, address and understand the needs of older people.
Throughout all the consultation workshops two issues were raised time and again:
External Communication – the statutory, community and voluntary organisations in Blackpool are doing many good things – but older people are not aware of them. We all need to be better at promoting ourselves and the things that we do.
Internal Communication –Although joint working is the norm in many areas, there are still gaps and we are loosing opportunities to share information and expertise that would lead to better services. Older People we talked to were amazed at the number of times they found that Council Departments and other organisations had not thought to connect the work they were doing – “Do they never talk to reach other?”
Equality and Involvement
Lead Officer – Andy Divall,
Faith, Equality and Diversity Manager
….that the diverse needs of older people are recognised and responded to, by listening to our views and involving us in local developments.
What Older Adults want
- Community based activities which attract people to get involved
- More opportunities for people to meet, particularly across the generations
- A single source of information for community groups
- Support for older gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people through community groups and networks
- Stop calling us Older People
- Use Senior Voice Forum to circulate information on activities and opportunities
- Use Senior Voice Forum’s expertise
- Encourage groups to work together and be proactive
- Make sure that venues are accessible by public transport, or provide door to door transport
- Make sure that meetings are held at times people feel safe to go out.
- Make sure meetings are well run and well presented and that speakers can be heard
- Provide incentives to attend, for example, entertainment
- Encourage involvement through leaflet drops and publicity
- Keep information short and straightforward
What we have now
The Senior Voice Forum was launched in 2005, funded by Blackpool Council and run by Age Concern. Since that time the group has grown to over 200 people. The Forum provides a voice for local people aged over 50 and it has taken part in a wide range of consultation and discussions with the Council, PCT and other local organisations, including the consultation for this strategy document. The Senior Voice is also represented on the Local Strategic Partnership and the Health and Social Care Commissioning Group.
Senior Voice is one of a number of forums on Blackpool which give people the opportunity to raise questions and put forward their views. The Area Forums cover a wide range of issues, bringing together people living in a particular location in the borough, others, such as the Equalities Forum bring together particular communities of interest.
Best Practice Example
The Annual Older People’s Conference brings together members of the Senior Voice Forum and other groups representing older people in Blackpool. The conference is an opportunity to receive updates on developments in Blackpool, including the Masterplan, and consult on a wide range of topics including, transport, health and social care.
Speakers have included the Chief Executive of Blackpool Council, Steve Weaver and the Chief Executive of Blackpool PCT, Wendy Swift.
- Identify and stop any discriminatory behaviour of individuals or groups
- Reflect the needs of older people in the new Community Plan
- Reform the Equalities Forum to create a focus for key community led groups for each of the equalities strands, including Age
- Integrate Equality and Diversity into all corporate and service level plans
- to develop outcome measures for equality improvements and set targets - through engagement with Older People
- Increase understanding of equalities issues through staff development programmes
- Make services accessible to the whole community
- Review and revise the Equality and Diversity Policy in the light of feedback from users, staff and partners and in line with new legislation
Lead Officer – Paolo Pertica – Head of BSafe Blackpool
…to feel safe and respected wherever we go in Blackpool.
What Older Adults want
- To feel safe wherever we go in Blackpool – in town, on public transport, in the parks, in our local streets
- Give more respect to everyone
- Provide better support for families
- Provide cleaner streets
- Provide tidy properties
- Provide more CCTV
- On the spot enforcement
- Visible Police or community support officer presence
- Give Park Wardens more powers
- Help parents to take responsibility for their children
- Better information on the work already underway, for example use the Gazette, Senior Voice Forum, Your Blackpool
- Tell people what difference reporting incidents to the Police can make
- More emphasis on responsibilities and duties, less on rights
- Better communication between generations, for example, go into schools to talk to children, engage with young people
- Restrict the licensing hours and the sale and use of alcohol
- Name and shame people in the local press/public places
What we have now
BSafe Blackpool is the Blackpool Community Safety and Drugs Partnership. The Partnership is committed to reducing crime, disorder and substance misuse in the town, reassuring the public through a series of innovative projects and sophisticated intelligence.
They also work closely with the local community to address their concerns and find tailor-made solutions to specific problems.
Best Practice Example
ALTN8 (alternate) is an initiative to reduce alcohol consumption of individuals and to reduce alcohol consumption overall. It is widely accepted that the increase in alcohol fuelled violence has risen sharply as consumption has continued to rise, especially in the under 30’s. ALTN8 was announced as the winners of the Public Health category of the NHS Acorn Alliance Awards in 2007.
ALTN8 promotes a simple message, alternate drinks, days and lifestyle to reduce hangovers (short term), and challenges people to look at their drinking routines.
The message is clear – Drink one alcoholic drink then one soft drink (preferably water).
Alternate – one alcoholic drink, one soft drink…. Beat the hangover?
Alternate – You’ll still be standing at the end of the night!
Alternate – Do you remember what you did last night?
Alternate – Drinks, the days you drink, venues, lifestyle.
- Ensure that the activities and successes of the Community Safety Partnership are widely publicised and information is sent to key organisations for dissemination
- Improve the information flow between agencies in order to reduce antisocial behaviour
- Involve communities in devising the best local solutions
- Deliver positive activities for young people to prevent them from becoming involved in antisocial behaviour
- Use the British Crime Survey to measure perception levels and incorporate fear of crime considerations in all our interventions
- Focus on the top fifty prolific offenders thus reducing the nature and volume of their crimes and antisocial behaviour by preventing and deterring people from becoming prolific offenders, catching and convicting them, resettling and rehabilitating them
- Continue to address crime, disorder and substance misuse throughout the town, with particular emphasis on Talbot, Claremont, Bloomfield, Waterloo, Brunswick and Park.
Transport and Access
Lead Officer – Bruce Allan – Principal Transport Policy
What Older Adults want:
- Public transport near their homes that takes them where they want to go.
- More Blue Badge parking places:
- More benches in town and at key locations such as churches
- All new community buildings should be on a bus route.
- Better crossings at big junctions and roundabouts.
- Clean and well-maintained public areas that are not a hazard for people with mobility problems.
- Clear and well-maintained pavements
- Better bus stops in the town centre
- A new bus station
- A comprehensive bus network that is a real alternative to car travel.
- Clean and secure buses and trains
- Better customer care standards from transport operators including the management of antisocial behaviour.
- More low-floor buses and higher kerbs at bus stops
- More bus shelters with maps of the local area.
- Improved Rideability service – more destinations, more hours – the service should use Council transport more effectively
- Introduce a ‘public realm manager’ working outside the town centre area and liaising with police and community support officers
- Effective parking control that keeps access areas clear
- Dropped pavement kerbs to improve wheelchair and buggy mobility
- Efficient investment and management of transport and access by the Council.
- The Council and transport providers should work together to improve services
- The Council and transport operators should work with the voluntary sector e.g. Age Concern, to improve services and communicate with older adults effectively
- The voluntary sector can play an increased role in providing transport services for older adults
- Better public transport information and promotion – including introducing Real Time Information systems
- Focus on older adults leisure and social needs (accessibility planning)
What we have now:
Blackpool has a five year Local Transport Plan in common with other transport authorities. The current plan runs until April 2011. It considers details of transport users needs and the steps necessary to meet them,, including those of older people, which have been established through consultation.
Government funding has been allocated based partly on this plan’s quality and supports an annual Local transport Plan programme: the Integrated Transport Block funds transport improvements; the Capital Maintenance Programme repairs the facilities that are in place , including public realm initiatives. It can also be used to support promotional work. Because we do not get enough funding to do all the work we want to, the development programme is monitored tightly to ensure that money is spent efficiently.
A comprehensive Town Centre Strategy is being developed which aims to bring the highest design quality to this key area. Redevelopment schemes, including the Talbot Gateway scheme, will provide the resources and income necessary to support the root and branch regeneration envisaged within the Blackpool Masterplan. This scheme will provide improved public transport facilities including a transport interchange capable of including a new tram extension.
Best Practice Example
- Address the issues that older adults have raised in consultation forums such as the Quality Bus Partnership
- Complete the Town Centre Strategy and develop an implementation strategy
- Address the public space and transport issues raised through the Town Centre Strategy and other public space processes.
- Install more bus shelters through the Quality Bus Corridor initiative which is currently focussed on Line 11 and Line 14 with a commitment in the Local transport Plan for Lines 5 and 6
- Implement the Key Pedestrian Routes strategy, including installing greater numbers of drop kerbs and improving the pavements, starting in the Bond Street area.
- Improve the Rideability service, by expanding the service in line with feedback. A Passenger Transport Unit is being considered which would allow Rideability service levels to be addressed.
- Include older adults’ needs in future Local Transport Plan programmes where specific provision can be made to meet special needs , bus promotion and information initiatives and schemes to improve transport
- Include older adults’ needs in the current five-year Local Transport Plan process and in future plans where specific provision for special needs would be appropriate and practical solutions are available
- Support investment in the local bus network, to provide vehicles and routes that meet the needs of older adults
- Invest in roads and public spaces to encourage walking, cycling and access to public transport
Housing and Neighbourhoods