Successful launch of new Breckland Older Person’s Forum

Older people from across Breckland came to the successful launch of a group which will give thousands of people a stronger voice within the community.

Wednesday's event at the district council's office at Dereham, to celebrate the creation of the Breckland Older Person's Forum, was attended by just over 50 people, councillors, 15 stallholders and guest speakers.

Anyone aged over 50, or people interested in issues which affect the elderly, can join the independent group whose members will be able to speak with delegates from organisations, including the NHS the fire service, the Alzheimer's Society and Trading Standards.

Stallholders included representatives from these different organisations and voluntary bodies which will offer advice to members of the forum.

Guest speakers on the day were Emily Millington-Smith, chairman of Norfolk Older People's Forum, Annie Mosely, from Age UK Norfolk, Lynda Turner, Breckland Council's older people's champion, and James Bullian, Norfolk County Council's assistant director of prevention for community services.


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Mrs Millington-Smith said: 'I'm pleased there are people from the periphery of Breckland. It means it is not a closed community.'

She added that the group allows people to receive information about different services, which they might not be able to access in everyday life - especially those without a computer or the internet.

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Laura Apps-Green, community development officer for Breckland Council, said: 'I'm really pleased with the amount of people who have come through the door because it has been a long time coming and this group is the last piece in the jigsaw for older person's forums in Norfolk. Breckland residents will have a voice.'

Across the county there are similar independent groups in the Broadland area, west Norfolk, Great Yarmouth, south Norfolk and Norwich.

Members of these forums meet five times a year at the Norfolk Older Person's Forum and discuss proposals put forward by different organisations.

Ann Housden, 65, from Dereham, who was at the event, said: 'The forum is a good way to meet new people.'

Another Dereham resident, Tony Fenn, 71, added: 'I think it is great.The forum makes people aware of what is on offer.'

He added that the group, which is free to join, would achieve communication between residents and services.

The Breckland forum will receive an annual county council grant for three years and is expected to meet about four times a year.

An official committee for the group will be decided early next year.

For more information about the forum contact Mrs Apps-Green on 01362 656870 or email laura.apps-green@breckland.gov.uk

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