New group to give older residents a voice

A new group championing older people in Breckland will be launched this week giving thousands of residents the chance to have a stronger voice in the community.

The Breckland Older Person’s Forum will be open to anyone living in the area who is over 50-years-old, or people interested in issues which affect older residents.

A special event to celebrate the start of the independent group is taking place today at the Breckland Council office, off Kingston Road, in Dereham.

Annie Moseley, from Age UK Norfolk, who will be one of the guest speakers at the launch meeting, said: “The forum will bring together the voice of older people in Breckland...This is the last link in the chain for older person’s forums in Norfolk and it is wonderful.”

Across the county there are similar independent groups in west Norfolk, Great Yarmouth, south Norfolk, north Norfolk and Norwich.

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Members of these forums meet five times a year at the Norfolk Older Person’s Forum and discuss proposals put forward by organisations, including Norfolk County Council the NHS and voluntary bodies.

Emily Millington-Smith, chairman of the Norfolk Older People’s Forum, said: “The other forums have been verry informative. We are looking to continue the work which has been going on for a long time.”

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She will be one of four guest speakers at today’s event.

People who join the Breckland group will be able to meet with representatives from similar organisations, including Breckland Council, and raise problems from their communities.

“If services don’t work for older people then what is the point,” said Ms Moseley.

The Breckland forum will receive an annual county council grant for the next three years.

Laura Apps-Green, community development officer for Breckland Council, added: “On the back of the success of the Breckland Youth Council, it was felt we had the opportunity to do something for older people.”

Lynda Turner, Breckland Council’s executive member for localism, community and environmental services, added: “With the current climate of cut backs and increased redundancies, especially amongst older folk, and the increased necessity for care in the home, topics addressed by the Forum will be relevant to all. This includes those who may already care for others, or who, looking ahead, need to plan for themselves or others. The Forum as a voice for all will help ensure that a variety of issues, however great or small, are listened to and taken to the appropriate authorities, including government.”

Some 15 organisations and voluntary bodies which will be at tomorrow’s launch, which include the library service, the Alzheimer’s Society, Trading Standards and Age UK Norfolk.

The event will start at 9.30am and at 10.30am a meeting will take place in the Anglia Room, where there will be four guest speakers.

An official committee for the Breckland Older Person’s Forum will be decided early next year and the group, which is free to join, is expected to meet about four times each year.

For more information about the forum or the launch contact Mrs Apps-Green on 01362 656870 or email

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