Spotlight on Older People - May 2019

News from RSN

Free bus pass the key to happiness

Following a recommendation in the recent Lords Rural Economy report that the Government review free bus passes for over-60s, the Daily Mail covers research demonstrating free bus travel equates to a happier life.

Social Care model suggested

Former cabinet minister Damian Green has today published a report with the think tank Centre of Policy Studies in which he argues that current social care is inadequate, and the Government should be spending an addition £2.5 billion annually, according to the Guardian.

Baroness Tyler comments on bank closures

Baroness Tyler, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility and the Lords Committee on Financial Exclusion, has written for welcoming Nationwide’s commitment to keep branches open.

It came after the building society announced that every town or city which currently has a branch will still have one in 2021. She commented: ‘I find it deeply ironic that the UK is considered a world leader in financial services when its banks fail to provide basic services to so many vulnerable consumers.

How to reduce rural ambulance waits

An article from the BBC discusses how the NHS is promising to reduce the gap between how long it takes to get a 999 response to critically injured patients in rural and urban areas.

A BBC News investigation into the highest-category callouts has found rural areas waited over 50% longer.

Council warns of 1bn social care black hole

Following the announcement that councils will be allowed to raise taxes by 2.99 per cent in 2019/2020, town hall leaders warned of a £1 billion social care funding gap, as reported by the Independent.

News from Parliament 

Wednesday 8th May saw an Opposition Day Debate in Parliament about free tv licences for the over 75's.  

The topic was chosen by the Labour Party and the debate was introduced by Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson.  Responsibility for funding the over 75 licence is being transferred to the BBC in June and there is concern that the BBC will not be able to fund it without reducing services as it is estimated the commitments costs around £750 million a year. 

For more detail on the debate you can view Hansard's full text here:

Further research and comment from RSN

How can we further develop a picture of income inequality in the countryside

The gap between the poorest and richest households appears to be growing; thus reversing a downward trend over the previous 10 years. What is income inequality and how prevalent is it in rural areas? Jessica Sellick investigates.

Older People in Rural Areas in the news

Labour attempts to stop Tories jeopardising over 75s free tv licences (8 May 2019)

Labour will try to force a vote on Wednesday to urge the government to protect free TV licences for the over-75s.  The shadow culture secretary, Tom Watson, will use an opposition day debate in the House of Commons to seek to put pressure on the government over the issue. Responsibility for funding the commitment, which costs an estimated £750m a year, is being handed over to the BBC in June next year, under deal struck with David Cameron’s government in 2015. (The Guardian)

Residents urged to speak up on buses (30 April 2019)

MP Harriett Baldwin has called on Malvern people to speak up for their bus services after meeting retirement home residents.  The group asked to meet Mrs Baldwin following changes to bus services which mean some residents are no longer able to get out and about.  (Hereford Times)

Uber style service for buses on the cards for Shropshire (20 April 2019)

Transport bosses for Shropshire are looking into a new on-demand bus service which is already operating in Liverpool.  Councillors Steve Davenport and Simon Harris, who are responsible for the transport portfolio, are heading to the city to see how ArrivaClick works. (Shropshire Star)

Rural Dementia friendly churches (14 March 2019)

An estimated 850,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed as living with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, with this number forecast to increase to around one million by 2025. Over recent years, churches and dioceses in the Church of England have stepped up support to people living with dementia and their carers with activities from dementia-friendly cafes to singing groups and services. (Lichfield Diocese News)

RSN Observatory

The RSN's Observatory is the place to discover the statistics behind key issues facing rural communities in England, issues that the RSN is striving to highlight and tackle through its work.
The Observatory is additionally a great place to understand the numbers that define the communities within our membership through an expanding group of analyses, with this body of work soon to be given its own area on the RSN website called Member Insights.

Feature on RSP member

Raising awareness of Parkinsons in Rural areas

The Rural Services Partnership (RSP) is working in partnership with Parkinson’s UK in rural communities throughout England to address issues such as vulnerability, isolation and loneliness, transport and poor access to communications.

Following This World Parkinson’s Day on the 11th April, the RSP wishes to raise awareness of Parkinson’s new campaign, Parkinson’s Is, with our rural networks.

Working with Living Memories

We are pleased to be working with Living Memories as part of the Rural Services Partnership (RSP).  Living Memories uses still and moving images in archive programmes to create memory trigger resources to aid reminiscence by older people who grew up in the 1930s -1960s.  These archive film based resources can be particularly helpful to aid reminiscnece for any older person developing dementia.

The Tea & Memories pilot group in Colyton is doing extremely well and they are getting requests to set up similar groups in other communities in East Devon.  They are considering organising Pop Up Tea & Memories sessions across Devon during 2019.  


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