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  • chris walsh

Keeping active and staying young ( in spirit)

Another busy week, with zoom meetings and deadlines for newsletters, replies and campaigns. One thing I have learnt about being active in the age movement is that it does give you momentum and energy as well as provide a focus for your day as added bonuses to the real and immediate need for this work to continue. When I first became a member of Age Platform Europe through being Chief Exec of Wise Age ( and before that Wise Owls) and attended my first General Assembly meeting in Brussels was how amazingly active, engaged and knowledgeable everyone was. Out of the 120 plus delegates from across Europe at the age of 61 (god that was a few years back!) I was one of the youngest. Even now more than 10 years on I am still seen by many as one of the youngsters, with many members representing their countries aged 75, 80 plus, yet still active, still engaged and campaigning for a better, fairer world, which I do find inspiring.

Any way back to this week. PAiL committee meeting very lively and we seem to now be starting to make a break through with our age friendly London Recovery principles hitting a nerve. Age UK London has endorsed us and we are getting positive replies from some of the Recovery board members. It really is an ongoing battle to get the Great and the Good to take ageism seriously and to remember to consider the interests, needs and views of older Londoners, but we keep on trucking.

Other campaigns we are playing our part in are: fighting to keep our rush hour pass and trying to get Tfl and London Councils to understand that the only reason London's over 60s go on the tube in the morning rush hour is because a disproportionately large number of us work in the NHS and health and social care or are working in front line jobs like super markets. For a large number of the 1.25 million UK over 65s who are still working the only jobs available are part time and minimum wage . No one wants to put themselves at risk unless they need to, for example to attend NHS appointments and operations which can start at 7 am. It's good to remember that many older people are near to the poverty line and this extra cost can tip them over the edge on a very tight budget.

This lazy thinking and casual ageism by organisations who see themselves as committed to equal opportunities is very disappointing and we have to keep on reminding them of the positive benefits which we seniors bring to London and the UK's life and economy. One last example of this is that the NHS and the government was desperate to bring back retired NHS workers who were prepared to come back and be retrained as volunteers during this pandemic, with some of them losing their lives as a result. Now they are going to have to pay if they need to come in early to help the NHS and care homes out

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