Umbrella group to improve service access for elderlyBy Laura Nightingale
March 15, 2013
AN umbrella organisation linking all the different services available to the elderly in Yateley would seriously help the area’s ageing population, it emerged at Yateley Town Council’s annual meeting.
Concerns were raised that older people in the area were finding it difficult to access support and residents have complained that there is little information to explain what is available to them in the community.
Yateley is considered a fragmented town because Frogmore, Darby Green and Blackwater are spread out from the centre meaning essential services are not so easily accessible for vulnerable residents.
At the public meeting on March 11, Chris Cornwell, secretary of the Hampshire Association of Older People’s Forums, suggested using a model similar to one operating in Hartley Wintney that links all the services for older residents.
“Since June 2010, around 25 organisations have joined the Hartley Wintney forum,” he explained. “First we had to sit down and find out what each service did – that was a revelation in itself. Some people who had been working or living in the town for years did not know about other organisations Once we found out who did what we looked at reducing any unnecessary overlaps.”
Mr Cornwell said once the forum had identified what was available, it was then able to discuss what was missing. The forum distributed 1,000 booklets listing all the organisations supporting older residents.
It was stressed at the meeting that there was not a lack of services for older people in Yateley but a lack of communication to enable them to access these services.
Between 2001 and 2011 Hart saw a 41.2% increase in the number of over 65s.
Services catering for the older age group in Yateley include Frogmore Day Care Centre, Age Concern, Yateley Industries for the Disabled, Staying Put, Neighbourcare, Yelabus, Hart Voluntary Action and Yateley Citizens Advice Bureau.
Veronica Siney, manager of Frogmore Day Care Centre, said: “When we go out to people, many say that they do not know we exist or what other support is available to them.”
Yateley town councillor Andy Whitaker, who chaired the meeting, agreed. He said when he drove older residents to hospital, many were unaware of a handyman service in the town.
Ouida Grant, CEO of Citizens Advice Bureau Hart District, said: “Some older people do not like using the telephone or the internet. I am proud that we go out into the home to support people as one of the issues we face is people not being able to get to the bureau.”
It was also mooted that there should be someone on the town council responsible for networking older people’s services as there was for youth services.
Sue Vincent, from Hart Volunteer Centre, said: “I think there are many people in our town who want to volunteer. It is not a matter of needing more groups, but more activities within these groups.”