Five-year partnership to improve quality of later life for people in Leeds Lord Geoffrey Filkin, Bill Rollinson MBE and Cllr Rebecca Charlwood celebrate signing the memorandum of understanding

Lord Filkin, Bill Rollinson, Cllr Rebecca Charlwood

A new partnership that will bring fresh thinking to the challenges and opportunities for older residents in Leeds was announced today (Wednesday, 11th October).

Like the rest of the UK, people in Leeds are living longer. It is estimated that by 2021 the number of people in Leeds aged 50 and over will increase by nearly 25,000 (an increase of 8% since 2011) and people aged 80 and over will increase by more than 8,000 (an increase of 10% since 2011).

The new partnership between Leeds City Council, Leeds Older People’s Forum (LOPF) and the Centre for Ageing Better will build on Leeds’s existing commitment to being an ‘Age-friendly City’ and ‘the best city to grow old’ in. Over the next five years, the partnership will apply evidence of ‘what works’ to create a better later life for older residents, now and in the future, and help to tackle social and health inequalities experienced by people in later life across the city.

Working closely with older people across Leeds, the partnership will also focus on piloting innovative ways to respond to ageing-related issues experienced by residents, which will generate valuable insight that can be shared with communities across the city and wider region, as well as nationally and abroad.

The partnership will initially look at three key areas:
  • Transport – exploring ways to improve and increase access to community transport across Leeds.
  • Community Action – working within a neighbourhood in Leeds to test ways to boost volunteering and community activity amongst those aged 50 and over. Volunteering has been shown to improve older people’s well-being as well as having direct benefits for communities. Part of a national project, the work will focus on those who may face challenges to involvement, such as those on low incomes or from black and minority ethnic communities.
  • Housing looking at ways to improve housing for people in later life.  Local residents have identified a number of priorities: having support to live independently and well in their homes, having better access to information on housing, having the option to move home with extra support when needed, and ensuring their needs and views are considered in the building of new houses in the city.
Natalie Turner, Senior Localities Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:

“We are proud to partner with such an ambitious city. Leeds has already taken the important step to become an Age-friendly City, and this new partnership will enable a much more joined-up approach to addressing the needs of older residents in Leeds, using people’s insights and experiences to find new and better ways of doing things. What we learn in Leeds will have a direct benefit for residents but will also be used and shared across the UK, even internationally, to help other areas create communities where everybody can enjoy a good later life.”

Rachel Cooper, from Leeds Older People’s Forum, said:

“We are delighted to be part of this partnership, working to create a better later life for people across Leeds. Most important is that our work responds to the views and experiences of older residents, draws on the things that matter most to them and most importantly is led by them. Leeds Older People’s Forum will make sure those voices are at the forefront of the partnership’s thinking while involving LOPF’s 100+ member organisations. By partnering with LOPF there is recognition of the strength of the third sector in Leeds.”

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council Executive Member of Health, Wellbeing and Adults, said:

“Leeds city has a long track record in supporting a better later life for its residents, something this partnership will build on as part of our ambition to make Leeds the best city to grow old in. Older people currently provide informal volunteer services to their community saving millions of pounds each year. That figure is predicted to grow as our older population increases and this partnership can help harness the goodwill, ambition and community strengths we have to make lives better for the older people of Leeds.”

The memorandum of understanding between the organisations was signed today by Lord Filkin, Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better; Bill Rollinson MBE, Leeds Older People’s Forum and Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults.
  • The Centre for Ageing Better is an independent charitable foundation, bringing about change for people in later life today and for future generations. Practical solutions, research about what works best, and people’s own insight are all sources that they draw on to help make this change. Ageing Better share this information and support others to act on it, as well as trying out new approaches to improving later lives. It received £50 million of National lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund in January 2015 in the form of an endowment to enable it to identify what works in the ageing sector by bridging the gap between research, evidence and practice. For more information please contact the media team: Emma Twyning 020 7420 5243, or Phil Richards 020 3862 9185, or email media@ageing-better.org.uk
  • The UK Network of Age-friendly Communities is affiliated to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC). The Global Network’s flexible framework promotes a multi-sectoral approach to active and healthy ageing, placing people in later life at the heart of decision-making.
  • Leeds City Council Website – provides information and advice relevant to older people and their carers. http://www.leeds.gov.uk

An online directory of services available for older people such as neighbourhood networks, lunch clubs and care services in Leeds is available at http://leedsdirectory.org/

  • Leeds Older People’s Forum has a dual role. It is the umbrella organisation for third sector organisations working with and for older people in Leeds and has 100+ members. It also aims to give a more powerful voice to older people in shaping their city, for the benefit of all its citizens. LOPF manages ‘Time to Shine’, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better programme to reduce social isolation and loneliness amongst people over 50.

The Forum is one of four health and social care forums in Leeds, each with a unique specialism. LOPF’s sister forums focus on mental health, learning disability and physical and sensory impairment. Together they deliver Forum Central, the third sector health and care network. The network plays a central role in strategic health and care developments in the city which includes holding the third sector place on the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board.