Strengthening our local groups

Strengthening our local groups

Local Groups


The challenge facing older people’s organisations in Scotland is how to make the voluntary sector infrastructure that supports local older people’s groups much, much stronger. Why? Because without strong local groups, who will speak up for older people and provide them with much needed support and social networks and help them shape the services they need.

In England, Age Concerns in the Age Concern federation have a collective turnover of £84 million – and that doesn’t include the turnover of Age Concern England! In Scotland the combined turnover of all the older people’s organisations is approximately just 5% of the turnover of our English counterparts, with the same story reflected in other parts of the UK.

Of course size isn’t everything but the truth is that Scotland’s voluntary sector older people’s groups are weak in comparison with almost every other network of older people’s organisations in the developed world. Under invested in, politely patronised, and marginalised – the Cinderella of Scotland’s voluntary sector.

We want to change that by using the resources available to Age Concern Scotland to help build stronger local older people’s groups and argue for more local and national investment in supporting older people to improve their quality of life. And we want to hear from readers of Advantage and partner organisations about how they think we can do it.

Population statistics


Population statistics

  • In 2003, the population of Scotland was estimated at 5,057,400.

Registrar General for Scotland

  • 1,738,706 people were aged 50 and over (55% women, 45%men)
  • 1,084,216  people were aged 60 or over (57% women, 43%men)
  • 819,063  people were aged 65 and over (59% women, 41%men)
  • 957,776  were aged over pensionable age (60 for women, 65 for men) (64% women, 36% men)
  • 334,319 were aged 75 or over (63% women, 37% men)
  • 88,005 were aged 85 or over (73% women, 27% men)
  • 18.7% of the population in Scotland was of pensionable age.

Registrar General for Scotland

  • Life expectancy in Scotland in 1999-2001 was 73.1 years for men and 78.5 years for women at birth, and 14.7 years for men and 17.8 years for women at age 65. Life expectancy has increased substantially in Scotland over the 20th century and is predicted to continue to increase, albeit at a decreasing rate.

Life tables. Government Actuary’s Department.

Population Projections

2001 2011 2021
Total  population 5,064,200 4,982,957 4,894,721
Age  under 60 3,995,468 3,795,917 3,546,253
Aged  60+ 1,068,732 1,187,040 1,348,468
Aged 80+ 194,923 220,753 258,020
2031 2041
Total  population 4,735,447 4,483,596
Age  under 60 3,221,593 3,028,274
Aged  60+ 1,513,854 1,455,322
Aged  80+ 324,975 380,002

Based on: Government Actuary’s Department – Projected population for Scotland at mid-years by age last birthday in five-year age bands, 2001 based (MS Excel, 66.0KB) with assistance from the General Register Office for Scotland.

Older People Take more control with Direct Payments

Older People Take more control with Direct Payments

Local Groups

Despite an increasing number of older people in need of community care services, not many older people take advantage of direct payments for care services, where social work payments can enable older people to take control of their own care needs by giving them the power to employ their own staff or a care agency to help them remain independent.

Mr James Mowat, a user of direct payments, knows the value of these payments;  I have been using Direct Payments since 1st June 2004,and  because of this service I have enjoyed a quality of life that is almost stress free.

The concept of an individual being granted the right to manage their own care package is just tremendous.  Staff at the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living and the Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN) also proved most helpful in providing me with information re insurance and contracts of employment’

My experience has led me to the view that if you take your time to work out exactly what your needs are and have these agreed with the local authority staff then the rest is relatively easy.  There are plenty of people around to offer help and advice”.

Last year, thanks to Scottish Executive help, The Scottish Helpline for Older People started work to enable helplines to give better information about this enabling way to get community care provision.

The Scottish Helpline for Older People is now giving better information about direct payments for older people, and providing a valuable first port of call for people who have home based community care enquiries.  Along with the Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network, we have produced a new booklet which we are sending to many older people, and we also send out written information and videos or DVDs about direct payments, and refer interested callers to the best local source of further help where appropriate.

Over the coming months we know that the approach we have adopted will mean that Scotland’s older people can be guaranteed the same quality of basic information about direct payments from trained information workers.

Help Age Concern Scotland Campaign For Change

Help Age Concern Scotland Campaign For Change


We have been campaigning with, and on behalf of older people in Scotland for over sixty years.

In order to run successful campaigns and change things for the better we need accurate information and evidence to support our campaigning work to the media, the public and to local and national decision makers.

You can help us campaign successfully by sharing your personal experiences with us to use as case studies. If you have had experience, good or bad, of care and health services, transport services, negative stereotyping, benefits, housing, or anything else that has affected you please contact us