Burngreave Messenger.
Issue 40 April 2004
 

The Elders Voice

by Mark Lankshear

Passionate debate raged at the recent BCAF Quarterly Forum, putting the focus firmly onto the issues facing older people in Burngreave. A full house at the newly refurbished Christ Church Community Centre heard concerns following the recent announcement of the early closure of Ellesmere Residential Home (see issue 38 Ellesmere closes early). Council representatives described plans to improve home support and develop new ‘Extra Care Housing’ in response to the changing aspirations of older people.

Giving a Voice to Older People

Burngreave’s own Dorrett Buckley-Greaves, Chairperson of Sheffield 50+ Elders Congress and New Deal Community Rep, was greeted with warm applause as she described how the Congress has become one of the most advanced organisations dedicated to Better Government for Older People in the country.

As Dorrett explained, the membership of Sheffield 50+ is free to all of Sheffield’s over 50s, and the Elders Congress is elected each year to shadow the City Councillors, to speak up on issues affecting older people. Nearly 170,000 of the city’s residents are over 50 and the Congress aims to mobilise the untapped assets of their skills and years of experience for the benefit of the whole community.

Council homes to close

Janet Burke, City Wide Manager for Residential Homes explained there were now over 60 unfilled residential beds across the city. With over 23 private Care Homes in our area, many with vacancies, the Council were planning to stop providing residential care themselves and will close 16 homes around the city over the next five years, including Ellesmere.

Investment for home care

They will use the money saved to improve home support and eight of the homes planned for closure will be converted to Resource Centres. Longley Resource Centre will be developed to provide day care and outreach services for our area but grave concerns were raised about the services older people now receive at home. The meeting heard of people who were not being supported and of a lack of time and care for those who were. “The service isn’t good enough,” said Dorrett, “We need the help now!”

How to get help…

If you, or an older person you know, needs help you should contact the Social Service Access number on 273 4908. Cheryl McClure, Temporary Deputy Manager for the Home Support Service, told the meeting calls are screened and forwarded to a Care Manager who will make an assessment. If the person fits the criteria they will arrange for services to be put in place, either by the independent sector or by social services ‘in house’ home care.

She said the Council now employ over 1,000 home carers and aim to respond to individual needs of both older people and their carers. If people know of any problems with the service someone is receiving they should contact their Care Manager.

…and get involved

BCAF are launching a new Elderly Persons Working Group and the first meeting is on 7th April, 2pm at BCAT, 12 Burngreave Road. BCAF’s next Quarterly Forum is on 24th April, 11am at Christ Church and will be focusing on Employment issues. They can be contacted on 272 8008.

The Elders Congress will be sitting in the Council Chamber on 8th April and 6th May. Meet at the Town Hall main entrance 1.15–1.30pm.

To join Sheffield 50+ and receive their regular newsletter, ‘The Elders Voice’, contact: Sheffield 50+ Membership, c/o Corporate Mail Facility, FREEPOST NEA 5527, The Town Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 2ZZ, or tel 273 5426.

 

Dorrett Buckley-Greaves – Chairperson of Sheffield 50+ Elders Congress.

Dorrett Buckley-Greaves – Chairperson of Sheffield 50+ Elders Congress.

     
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Index for Issue 39 March 2004.