At a time when it has been recognised that more support is needed to help elderly people continue to live quality lives at home small elderly peoples groups across Birmingham have experienced significant loss of funding . This has resulted in a number of groups facing closure which, if nothing is done about it, will lead to increased lonliness for the most vulnerable people in society.
In the past small pensioner's groups have tended to work alone, they have had limited resources and have often had to rely on word of mouth to attract new members, however at the same time older people and carers have told us that they don't know what is available to them. At a time in their life when they need the most support carers often struggle to find places at day centres for their loved ones, they become more socaily isolated and depressed and don't know where to turn and many elderly people live lonely and worrying lives at home because they don't know how to access the support they need.
Due to their concern about this situation two well established and vibrant charities in South West Birmingham who have had vast experience in supporting older people; Allens Cross Community Association and Shencare Community Transport have formed a partnership with a view to finding a new and innnovated way of addressing the problem.
We will bring together a number of other small groups in the area in a way that has never happened before to provide an older people's hub. Representatives from each of the member groups will impart information on day centres, pensioners groups and other suitable activities in the area and this will be co ordinated into a directory that will be available in hard copy and online. There will also be an opportunity for groups to come together to provide joint activities such as trips out, tea dances, social evenings etc. Older residents will also be able to take advantage of our befriending service and a garden and handyman service that we will be setting up.
Shencare Community Transport, a trusted and well established transport provider will provide affordable accessible transport to ensure the activities are available to everyone and the group will also have the support of Allen's Cross Community Association's Community Development worker. Older residents and carers will be able to contact the hub on a dedicated telephone line to receive advice about suitable activities available to them plus help in accessing any benefits to which they may be entitled. For those people seeking care for their loved ones this will greatly simplify the process of obtaining places at day centres and the like.
Service user's views are very important to us and we want to ensure that they are taken into account in the activities we deliver so representatives from each of the member groups including service users will be invited to form a steering group to plan activities and to 'have a say' in the way forward.
By working together small pensioner's groups in South West Birmingham will be able to share resources and expertise, there will be opportunities for joint marketing and there will be a simplified way for more people to get in touch on a dedicted telephone number that will be widley advertised. Clubs will become more resilient and will be better placed to face the future. They will be 'stronger together'.