Voice of elderly is silenced as group is forced to close

Former chairman of the Older People's Forum in North Tyneside Lindsay Perks, which has had to close after 12 years due to a lack of funding and volunteers.
Former chairman of the Older People's Forum in North Tyneside Lindsay Perks, which has had to close after 12 years due to a lack of funding and volunteers.

AN ORGANISATION that spoke out for the needs of older people in North Tyneside has been forced to close due to an ageing committee and lack of funding.

The Older People’s Forum North Tyneside had been the independent voice of the people it represented for 12 years.

But the board has now taken the difficult decision to disband.

Its chairman Lindsay Perks, himself in his 80s, said funding had dried up, in line with that of many other voluntary groups, due to the economy.

He said funding now tends to go to voluntary organisations offering services, rather than those speaking up for those who the services are intended for.

The age of many members had also caught up with them, and Mr Perks said he hoped a younger generation would take over in due course.

The forum played a major role in the production of both the original Older People’s Strategy for North Tyneside and a more recent version, which has now been adopted by North Tyneside Council, health services, the police, fire and rescue service and a number of other bodies which are part of the borough’s Joint Strategic Partnership.

Members have been active in many working groups and consultations on topics, which are important for the quality of life of older people, including transport, housing, the environment, leisure, arts and culture, education, health and social services.

Mr Perks said: “We have been told that our input has been invaluable and we believe that in these difficult times an older people’s forum is needed more than ever, but sadly it is no longer possible for us to continue.

“It is our fervent hope that it will not be long before a new group will be formed to carry on the work we started.”