As part the Council's commitment to older residents in the Borough, the Champion aims to ensure that all residents over 65 years old are able to:
- Live a full and active life.
- Make a positive contribution and feel valued and included.
- Have access to appropriate information and advice.
- Enjoy living in good, safe neighbourhoods and are able to get out and about.
- Access high quality care and support services when necessary.
Download the Champion for Older Residents leaflet(pdf, 169KB).
Cllr Marcel carries out his role as Champion by:
- Developing and promoting initiative that will assist all Richmond’s older residents to enjoy fulfilling lives.
- Ensuring residents have access to useful information about what is available to them locally.
- Meeting older residents, listening to them and acting as an advocate for them within the Council.
- Working with local partners to find ways to tackle social isolation amongst older residents through befriending schemes.
- Being the public face of the Council in a number of campaigns to raise awareness of service for older residents.
- To tackle loneliness and isolation of residents over 65 and connect them with the community and the outside world.
- To help develop a prevention strategy to enable older residents to remain at home longer by increasing their confidence to stay in their own environment.
Richmond has one of the largest proportions of older people across all London Boroughs; 14% of the population is aged 65 and over. In total, 27,500 people are aged 65+ and of those, 12,500 are aged over 75. According to the 2011 Census, nearly 12% of over 65s in the borough are living alone. If all older residents have the chance to use tablets connected to the internet they will feel more confident to stay at home longer and become healthier. The Council will save money by increasing services that can be accessed online. Ultimately most Council services will be served online.
Progress so far
- I held a workshop on 31 October to which 50 people came from industry and charity organisations to identify all the current tablet training courses and places where they are held. This was followed by a brainstorming session on how to scale the courses up to embrace the majority of older residents.
- Subsequently it was agreed that the Council would provide match funding to enable a member of staff from Age UK to coordinate this initiative and report to a Steering Group which would come up with a plan to implement the Vision.
- Meanwhile the Council will work Richmond Adult College and other local training providers such as Age UK and Barclays Bank to develop a standard suite of Council certified/approved courses with documentation which can be rolled out in the borough to ensure some kind of course standardisation.
- I am also exploring a number of related technology initiatives, including how we can work with others to improve WiFi connectivity in the Borough, and a range of innovations to provide older people with ready access to online information and services. These may include dedicated easy to use kiosks or screens in areas or buildings of high footfall. I will report back regularly on progress as our plans develop.
- In terms of a prevention strategy I am investigating appropriate measures to block nuisance calls, an issue raised by a number of older residents. In addition I am working with council officers to scrutinise and develop a prevention strategy with more far reaching positive consequences.
Engaging with Older residents
My appointment as Champion for Older Residents really started in earnest at the Full of Life Fair in early October where I was introduced to a number of local charities and organisations for the first time, thus helping me to formulate plans with them to make a difference to older people in the Borough.
Since then I have broadened my knowledge of the local support to older residents by attending meetings with a number of organisations, to whom I am grateful for their help and support. The organisations include:
- Age UK, Richmond Chamber of Commerce
- Paragon Housing Association
- Richmond Housing Partnership
- Sheen Lane Day Centre and Library
- Castlenau Community Project
- Caring Cafe Sheen Lane Centre (Cross Roads)
- Barclays Digital Angels
- Neighbourhood Care Groups/Day Centres Representatives
- Barnes Green Day Centre
- FiSH Neighbourhood Care
- Richmond Carers Centre, Twickenham
- Richmond Dementia Action Alliance
Finally, I am a member of the Mayor of London’s Communication Advisory Group and attended a number of Forums including the All Party Parliamentary Group Conference on Smart Cities.
To contact Cllr Marcel, email Cllr.BMarcel@richmond.gov.uk.