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.