South West Age Action Alliance Is Born What Next?

South West Age Action Alliance Is Born What Next?

South West Age Action Alliance is born… what next?

On 3rd March 2014, LinkAge Bristol in partnership with South West Forum of Ageing held the first ever South West Age Action Alliance meeting.

Age Action Alliance was established in 2011 to establish strong working partnerships in order to improve the quality of later life by creating communities where senior people feel secure, valued and able to contribute to society.

On a national level there are some 600 members of the Age Action Alliance, but there is huge scope for collaborating on a local and regional level, and both LinkAge and the South West Forum of Ageing were keen draw on the national best practice to establish a local network.

Both organisations believe that - by working together, sharing knowledge, best practice, and pooling resources and ideas - we can achieve far more in tackling real issues.

This inaugural meeting consisted of a brief introduction from Tony Watts (SWFoA) and Claire Miller (LinkAge), presentations from Sue Jaques on Precious Time (South Gloucestershire Council), and Nicola Venus-Balgobin from Sense, who talked about the specific issues of ageing for deaf blind people.

The meeting was then handed over to the attendees and the rest of the time was spent with the group discussing what they wanted from a South West Age Action Alliance meeting/network and what they were going to do to make it work.

We were joined by over 40 people from a wide range of organisations across the southwest and the feedback was really positive with people keen for us to establish a regular South West Age Action Alliance group so that they could meet with and learn from other people across the Southwest.

People appreciated the Group work best of all, then the introduction and information on the next steps. All areas scored at least average and most scored useful or really useful.

Photographs and videos of the day are available on:

Thank you to all those who attended – this is your report!

What can we achieve with a Regional Age Action Alliance?

The thrust of the meeting and the feedback indicates that a strong SW AAA will enable:

  • A sharing of local knowledge and best practice
  • More pooling of scarce resources and manpower
  • Older people will be better able to influence agencies and service providers – to ensure that policies and services are shaped by them and not imposed upon them
  • Older people will have a greater lobbying power
  • Agencies will be more powerful together, working in partnership, and will be less inclined to act as rivals

Next steps

From the responses at the meeting and from the review forms received, we are now going to:

1) Set up a page on the Age Action Alliance website specifically for the South West– this is now live -

2) Begin to map the different projects that are taking place across the South West so that we have a transparent picture of what is taking place, where and by who. We are hoping that this will encourage more joint working.

3) Decide on the best way forward for the local meetings based on the feedback from the people who attended on 3rd March. We want this to be a useful and meaningful meeting and will move this meeting forward based on what people say they want/need.

4) Actively encourage more organisations to become involved.

5) Hold another meeting, date to be announced
We are really excited about these developments as we know that together we are stronger and we can accomplish tangible positive change for seniors across the southwest.

Those already committed to future involvement include:

Jeanette Roberts, Firstcare South West,

Kris Scotting,KSCC

Martin Goringe, DEFRA

Jan Jones, Bristol Community Transport

Jim Law, Wilts and Swindon Users Network

Brian Warwick, South West Seniors Network

Liz Freeman, We Care and Repair

John Clifford, Royal Voluntary Services

Amanda Whitlock, Independent Age

Sonia Harte, RichmondVillage

M Clements, U3A,

Catherine Stevens, Big Lottery

Abby Rakes, Golden Oldies

Nicola Venus-Balgobin, Sense

Mark Baker, Age UKBristol

Tony Watts, South West Forum on Ageing

Claire Miller, LinkAge Bristol

Possible future speakers include:

Jeanette Roberts, Firstcare South West

Kris Scotting, KSCC

Martin Goringe, DEFRA (research/work on Ageing Population)

Jan Jones, Bristol Community transport

Jim Law, Wilts and Swindon Users Network

Liz Freeman, We Care and Repair

John Clifford, Royal Voluntary Services

Amanda Whitlock, Independent Age

Sonia Harte, RichmondVillage

M. Clements, U3A

Catherine Stevens, Big Lottery

Your responses:

1What do agencies want to get out of the meetings?

  • Find out more about rural services for older people.
  • Learn about issues and solution, innovation, best practice examples
  • Find out more about how government can help
  • Meetings need to be relevant and useful
  • Opportunity to find out about what others are doing
  • Need to understand what happens in the South West and where the crossover is between SWSN, SWFOA and AAA
  • Digital help to prevent isolation
  • Issues around people being cared for at home
  • To network with other organisation so we are more aware of what is available in community. Each person has a unique solution so knowing what is out there is valuable

2What could a SW AAA offer members?

  • Networking and linkages
  • Training Awareness
  • Sharing of local information, ideas and knowledge
  • Local information and Intelligence sharing
  • Best practice sharing
  • Mutual support
  • Understanding of how services can be made more accessible
  • Training for staff
  • Partnership working
  • Extend mapping work
  • Ensure older people are able to access services
  • Awareness of services
  • Interaction with others working on the ground
  • Get ideas
  • Pool resources
  • Higher profile for member organisations
  • Better understanding of issues faced by ageing population

For more information on the South West Age Action Alliance please go to: