Eastbourne’s older residents get a voice in council

THE VIEWS of older people in Eastbourne look set to influence the county council’s policies, after they were given the chance to air their views on a number of important issues earlier this year.

In March year hundreds of people attended four ‘50+ Focus’ events in Eastbourne, Hastings, Newhaven and Uckfield to discuss how this could be achieved.

The events were organised by East Sussex Seniors Association (ESSA), the local seniors’ forums in East Sussex, the NHS and the various district and borough councils.

A spokesman for the event said, “The voices of older people in Sussex have been heard loud and clear and will help to improve their quality of life in the future.

“We wanted to hear people’s views on what is important to them and what their priorities are.”

The meetings covered several themes including health and social care; staying active and healthy; lifelong learning; housing; safety and security; community involvement and volunteering and transport issues.

A report on the meetings has just been published, giving details of the issues raised. The report has been issued to everyone who attended the meetings and is now publicly available.

The next step is to update the council’s Time of Our Lives strategy to provide the way ahead from 2012 until 2016, working in partnership with the East Sussex Seniors Association (ESSA).

Ron Sunderland, chair of ESSA, said, “Working closely with East Sussex County Council is the best way forward to achieve what we want.

“There were lots of priorities identified and ideas suggested. Everything we discussed will be considered and inform the refresh of Time of Our Lives.”

Cllr Bill Bentley, the Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said, “Older people enrich our society.

“They form one of the largest groups of our population in East Sussex and we must listen to what they have to say. “That means keeping our older population active and healthy, as well as providing services, is one of our top priorities.”

Eastbourne Seniors Forum has recently produced a Sports and Leisure Directory and carers and workers in the voluntary sector can attend council workshops.