The Scottish Older People's Assembly is the latest member to join the Scottish Rural Action in March 2022!
They told us a bit about their organisation:
"We are delighted to join forces with the SRA and look forward to developing opportunities to work together to achieve our shared goals in relation to supporting older people in rural areas to have their voices heard.
The Scottish Older People's Assembly exists to give a strong voice to older people about their experience of life in Scotland, their challenges and concerns, and to celebrate the positive contribution that older people make to society. SOPA was originally established in 2009 and has delivered nine national Assemblies with the aim of ensuring older people’s views are used to inform policy and legislation on matters that affect them. SOPA has over 60 members including community groups, national campaigns and organisations, equality and minority groups and lifelong learning associations along with individual members. The combined reach of these members is estimated to be 40,000 older people across Scotland, many of whom are affected by ill-health, come from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds, and who often feel excluded from decision making.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, like many organisations, SOPA’s plans changed significantly, and we sought to develop new and innovative ways to engage members and wider audiences. Online events and meetings have been successful in engaging our networks and we embarked on two lockdown film projects including, “A Bonus, not a Burden” aimed to challenge perceptions of older age.
SOPA is currently working in partnership with Age Scotland to campaign for Older People’s Champions to be appointed in all 32 local authorities in Scotland. An Older People’s Champion is an ambassadorial role, held by an elected Councillor. Their job is to be a link between the council and older people in the local area and to ensure all decisions taken by the council are made with due consideration of the impact on older people. Since the start of the campaign in 2021, the number of local authorities with a champion has increased from 6 to 20, with two more areas hoping to appoint after the forthcoming elections in May. Further information about the campaign, including a list of areas that have appointed an Older People’s Champion, can be found on Age Scotland’s website at: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland/our-impact/campaigns/older-peoples-champions/
SOPA has recently embarked on a new project to develop a network of Age-friendly Communities in Scotland, and this will be a key focus for our work over the next year. We are planning for an Assembly in October 2022 and look forward to sharing other opportunities for older people from across Scotland to get involved."
Further information, including SOPA’s latest newsletter, can be found on our website at: www.scotopa.org.uk