We will be celebrating 10 years of the Assembly this month with the largest gathering of older people in Gateshead at its AGM on Friday 29th September.
We support the wellness and wellbeing of older people across the borough, and is supporting more people than ever before as demand for our services increases.
We are celebrating 10 years this month and are very pleased to be supporting the wellness and wellbeing of hundreds of people across the borough of Gateshead. As part of our10th anniversary celebrations, more than 150 older people from across the borough will gather in Teams Social Club for our Annual General Meeting and an afternoon of fun and entertainment. The annual event has been arranged to coincide with The United Nations International Older Person's Day on 1st October.
Gateshead Older People's Assembly exists to support the wellness and wellbeing of Gateshead's older people and, while it is good to see us doing so well, the increase in demand for our services can be directly linked to the austerity measures being imposed by central government. Our manager Craig Bankhead, said:
"We're absolutely delighted to be supporting as many people as we are but we feel that organisations like ours are on the brink of unprecedented demand from a system that is vastly under-resourced - especially as winter approaches. We work closely with GPs and other healthcare professionals who refer a lot of their older patients to our charity as a way of helping them overcome a range of problems they might be facing. We provide a pay-what-you-can cafe, a tea dance, social groups, falls prevention activities, a community garden, tai chi classes and so much more all free of charge, and we are supporting more people each week."
We are funded by a range of trusts and foundations and have seen more than a 30% growth in both income and expenditure in the past year as the number of older people who are receiving support increases. Social Prescribing is an innovation which local GPs and other primary care providers are using as a way of helping their patients whose health could improve more quickly and effectively as a result of social interaction and exercise instead of traditional medicine. Sue Jennings, the Practice Manager from Teams Medical Practice said:
"GPs are relying increasingly on organisations such as Gateshead Older People's Assembly to help support patients in innovative ways so as to maintain their wellbeing. Teams Medical Practice works closely with GOPA and the local voluntary sector to help promote a more holistic approach to the health and wellbeing of our local population."
Gateshead has many health inequalities and is second worst out of the 12 north east local authorities in relation to the number of falls suffered by people aged over 65. Our manager said:
"It costs the system £27,000 if a person aged over 65 breaks their thigh bone and it is proven to negatively affect their mental health and their life expectancy. Our 20 week falls prevention programme reduces these effects significantly by supporting people to improve their strength, balance and mobility, as well as providing education on how to maintain bone strength and muscle tone. Each year, we support 100 people on our Staying Steady programme. Not only are we saving the government hundreds of thousands of pounds, we're also preventing older people from unnecessary suffering and hardship."
We are a small charity but we have a positive impact on older people in Gateshead. In July, the Assembly won a national "Small Charity, Big Impact" award from the Foundation for Social Improvement as a result of our ability to measure the positive benefits we have on older people.