Angus Council appoints Lynne Devine as Older People’s Champion
Forfar councillor Lynne Devine has been appointed as Angus Council’s Older People’s Champion.
At the meeting of Full Council on Thursday, a motion by Kirriemuir & Dean councillor Julie Bell to appoint an Older People’s Champion and for Cllr Devine to fulfil that role was unanimously endorsed by elected members.
Councillor Bell said: “Local authorities, health and social care partnerships and the Third Sector are responsible for providing and supporting so many services upon which older people rely – such as public transport, social care provision, housing, planning and communities.
“As many local authority budgets are under pressure, older people need someone specifically tasked with standing up for their interests and finding out what they need from local decision makers.”
Expressing her delight at taking up the post, Cllr Devine added: “I very much look forward working along with the Provost as the Veterans’ Champion and Cllr Lawrie as Young Persons’ Champion as Intergenerational work to be a great way to foster respect on both sides.
“As restrictions applied to the pandemic begin to lift it is important that we acknowledge the impact that this prolonged global crisis has had on our older family members, friends and neighbours.
“It has been torture for so many of them, as organisations they belonged to and depended upon closed. Relatives could not visit to give succour or support and only a few older people were able to go online. Many people lost their partners during this time and have had to grieve alone.
“The isolation, which was well known about before COVID-19, has been exacerbated hugely in the last year, so this is an excellent time to agree to Age Scotland and SOPA’s campaign to have an Older People’s Champion.”
Prior to the appointment, the Council had heard from Diana Findley, chairperson of the Scottish Older People’s Assembly; and Graham Galloway, chief officer at dementia support hub Kirrie Connections, on the value of having an Older People’s Champion.
Cllr Devine said: “I intend to meet with older people, wherever they are, to hear their concerns and then bring those views back to the Council, so that we can give them full consideration when formulating policy. I will also ensure that older people know where to go for support and/or company.
“In Angus, we already have a good network of support organisations and befriending groups for older people. I am keen to promote active lifestyles for our older people wherever possible and some of our organisations provide tailored physical activities for that very purpose. We want all our people not just to be living longer, but to be enjoying healthier lives too so they can play an active role in our communities for a very long time.
“Another important area where I am determined that our older people will be more suitably supported is with regards to financial wellbeing and advice. I will be in contact with Champions in other local authority areas to ensure Angus is learning and sharing best practice to ensure our older people are fully aware of their entitlements and that their voices are heard at a national level.”