In this page
Dr Charles Musselwhite, Aberystwyth University
Barry Stephens, Active Wales
Vicki Lloyd, Age Cymru, Chair
John Williams, Age Cymru
Faye Patton, Care and Repair
Steve Milsom, Cymru Older People’s Alliance (COPA)
Sarah Rossington-Harris, Local Authority Age Friendly Network, Bridgend Council
Norma Mackie, Local Authority Age Friendly Network, Cardiff Council
Mirain Llwyd Roberts, Local Authority Age Friendly Network, Gwynedd Council
Adam Greenow, Local Authority Age Friendly Network, Powys Council
Hayley Gwilliam, Local Authority Age Friendly Network, Swansea Council
Rachel Bowen, Office of the Older People’s Commissioner
Lyn Cadwallader, One Voice Wales (Town and Community Councils)
Tania Harrington, Stonewall Cymru
Peter Walters, Wales Seniors Forum
Stewart Blythe, Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA)
Dawn Jeffery, Welsh Women’s Aid
Amal Beyrouty, Women Connect First
Rachel Lewis, Welsh Government
Gethin Edwards, Welsh Government
Emma Harney, Welsh Government
Richard Thomas, Welsh Government
Henry Norman, Welsh Government
Jill Salter, Business in the Community
Chris Jones, Care and Repair
Dereck Roberts, National Pensioners Convention
Darren Hughes, Welsh NHS Confederation
Welcome, introductions, apologies and actions from last meeting
Actions from the last meeting were noted as complete or ongoing.
Apologies were also noted from the Deputy Minister for Social Services who was attending the funeral of Glenys Kinnock in London.
Homelessness white paper consultation (in the context of older people) (Henry Norman, Welsh Government)
Henry Norman gave a presentation that focussed on the white paper consultation and the following key points were noted:
- the risk of homelessness needs to be identified at the earliest possible stage via a wide range of organisations and services
- historically, older people have not been as affected by homelessness as other key groups of people; however, research by Tai Pawb has highlighted risks that can arise from unsuitable accommodation, bad landlord experiences, domestic abuse and older prison leavers
- the homelessness white paper looks into helping older people, amongst other groups of people with protected characteristics; for example, proposing changes to preventative actions taken by a local authority and widening responsibility for preventing and alleviating homelessness to more organisations
- the consultation runs until 16th January 2024; to complete a formal consultation response, please visit white paper on ending homelessness in Wales
- concerns were voiced around veterans, particularly younger veterans when they leave the armed forces; legislation has changed which means that years spent in service are no longer counted on the housing list within their local authorities
- there were also concerns around the increase in rental prices and landlords serving emergency eviction notices; older people can be pushed out of their homes and certain areas to give way for a younger demographic, particularly in university towns
- another area of concern is regarding hospital discharge; sometimes, an older person is not able to return to their home as it is no longer suitable; a person cannot be discharged into homelessness and this is captured in the white paper but it does need more exploration; there is cross-government working between the team who lead on hospital discharge and homelessness to ensure that concerns such as this are highlighted
- as proposals develop further, Henry Norman said that he would come back to the forum to discuss further
- there is very little data regarding older people and homelessness; more data is needed to better address the problem
- prevention and early intervention are paramount to avoid homelessness in the first place
- there was a suggestion that during the planning and building phase, “homes for life” should be more widely considered; for example, planning should consider an ageing population
Henry Norman to attend a future Ministerial Advisory Forum on Ageing (MAFA) meeting or working group to discuss this subject in more detail as proposals develop further.
Welsh Government update
Officials noted that since the last meeting, work had been focussed on the 6 monthly progress report for the strategy for an ageing society and also dealing with the appointment of the new Older People’s Commissioner for Wales. Legislation has been amended to reflect a new seven-year term for the new Commissioner and the advert for the post will be published at the start of January 2024.
It was agreed that there would be a re-introduction of subgroups, with the first groups focussing on the 6 monthly progress review, housing and homelessness and the re-opening of day services which is being led by another team in Social Services Department.
Welsh Government officials to organise and invite MAFA members to sub-group meetings.
Age friendly communities and discussion
The new members of MAFA from the local authority age friendly network introduced themselves and highlighted some of the work that was being undertaken in their respective local authority areas:
Mirain Llwyd Roberts, Gwynedd Council
Gwynedd local authority have almost completed their application for entry into the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities (“Global Network”).
One of the main issues affecting older people in this area is around transport.
The local authority continues to undertake intergenerational work and have some great examples of good practice.
Work is being undertaken to understand how the local authority can better reach older adults. A recent project, “A Journey through Gwynedd” has been particularly successful in reaching the harder to reach older people.
Adam Greenow, Powys Council
The local authority has recently recruited 13 new older person’s representatives who sit on the various forums across Powys.
As Powys is such a large, rural area, it can be difficult to bring people together. The local authority is currently running a roadshow which is designed to gather feedback and views on various services across the region.
Norma Mackie, Cardiff Council
Cardiff have been a member of the Global Network for 18 months and are making great progress in this area with the launch of a website that directs older people to key services and a newsletter which is issued by both digital and non-digital means every 3 months.
Cardiff has seen lots of issues around isolation of older people since the COVID-19 pandemic so have been bringing people together face to face and via hybrid means.
Hayley Gwilliam, Swansea Council
Swansea have made their application to the Global Network and are awaiting the outcome.
There are many social events for older people in Swansea and as well as bringing people together, the local authority is able to hear from individuals. There are walks, bowling clubs, coffee mornings and a choir with over 300 people.
A “collaboration station” has been developed by the council officials who work on older people’s policy. This is a place where people can visit and potentially get referred to other council services.
The age friendly champion role in Swansea means that there is an advocate for older people within the local authority to ensure that their voices are heard in meetings and when making policy decisions.
Sarah Rossington-Harris, Bridgend Council
Due to technical difficulties, Sarah was unable to participate fully in today’s meeting but reiterated that the local authority was focussing on all the same areas as the other authorities with the wellbeing of older people at the heart.
It was agreed that a meeting would be arranged with the new members and the Deputy Minister for Social Services to meet properly in the New Year.
As there was insufficient time to discuss this agenda item in detail, it was agreed that it would be put on the agenda at the next meeting in March.
Welsh Government officials to arrange meeting between Deputy Minister for Social Services and new MAFA members.
Welsh Government officials to ensure that age friendly communities is an agenda item at the next meeting in March 2024.
Right to adequate housing: the 'State of older people’s housing in Wales' (Faye Patton, Care and Repair Cymru)
Care and Repair is a housing, adaptation and home improvement charity. It has 13 agencies across Wales and operates across all 22 local authorities. They have a number of different programmes, such as hospital to a healthier home programme and managing better – 50+ living with sensory loss.
The volume of referrals has hugely increased and are increasingly complex in nature due to them being picked up much later.
The 'State of older people’s housing in Wales' report was launched earlier this year.
There are a number of challenges: deteriorating housing conditions, cost increases to home improvements, shortage of reliable contractors, increasing complexity of getting works done to support someone safely and independently to live at home.
The following key points were noted:
- this is a significant problem in Powys because of its rurality; people are asset wealthy but cash poor; substantial repairs would need to be taken for these properties
- an individual’s reluctance to move can be an issue, however it is also their right to remain in their home
- it is important to challenge the idea that people who own their own homes are fine and can afford repairs and home improvements
- if we had a law, then the infrastructure is also needed to make it work; it was also noted that many statutory duties are not currently being met; legislation has to come with resource
Any other business and date of next meeting
There was general agreement that the MAFA meetings should be 2 hours rather than 1.5 to allow for more detailed discussion.
It was confirmed that the date of the next meeting is 20 March 2024.
The meeting in June will be hybrid and people can attend in person in Welsh Government buildings in Cardiff. More details to follow.
No further business was recorded and the meeting concluded.