Established in November 2011 Swindon Older Peoples Forum (SOPF) provides an independent, inclusive forum for discussion and debate on the issues and concerns of older citizens within the Borough. It is run by older people for older people and is independent of external influences.
In pursuit of these primary objectives, SOPF aims to:
- promote the welfare and interests of older people within the Borough of Swindon.
- combat ageism and promote a positive image of all older people,
- provide a forum for the exchange of information, ideas and experience and to encourage older people to have their say on issues that concern them.
- to increase the opportunities for older people to be integrated into the local and national mechanisms that influence the decisions on issues and concerns that affect them.
- work in partnership with local, regional or national organisations and institutions who have similar aims, objectives and interests.
- be a democratic, independent non-party political, non sectarian and non profit-making organisation, that welcomes participation regardless of ethnic origin, disability, faith, gender or sexuality.
It is important that SOPF is recognised as a, not the, voice of older people in Swindon that seeks equal involvement and consultation, but not special pleading, on issues that affect their daily lives. SOPF is only involved in local committees, groups and formal meetings where this status is recognised.
SOPF is playing a role in improving the two way communication of information, input, views and ideas to and from our age sector. Where timescales allow, SOPF also provides a collective input and voice for local consultations and as part of a wider network of organisations, particularly in the South West, SOPF has insights into, and involvement in, regional and national interests and activities of older people.
Membership of SOPF is free and a regular newsletter summarises activities, keeps members and affiliates abreast of developments, and signposts sources of advice and information. SOPF also has a Website http://www.sopf.btck.co.uk and uses themed Open meetings to listen to the views, issues and concerns of its membership. A small Management Committee takes forward the actions and requests made by the membership.
Topics discussed at Open meetings to date have included local transport provision for the elderly and combating social isolation and loneliness. The next Open meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday 16 April 2013 at Gorse Hill Community Centre between 1:00 – 4:00pm will have a discussion on “Housing options for Older People”. In the autumn SOPF will be looking at the implications of introduction of the changes to the welfare benefits system.
Anyone seeking more background information about SOPF, or wishing to join us, should consult the Website or use the contacts set out below.