Older people in Wales who may be struggling to get the services and entitlements they need to live a fulfilled and dignified later life because their voices are often unheard, or they simply don’t know what are their options, are set to benefit from a new project being launched by Age Cymru on 6 October 2020.
The project, called HOPE (Helping others participate and engage), will recruit and train community based volunteers throughout Wales to provide independent advocacy support to local older people and carers so they can help shape the key decisions affecting their own lives and thereby avoid getting into a crisis situation. The project will help people who may need information and support with issues such as housing, accessing services, dealing with loneliness and isolation or getting the financial and other entitlements they need.
The project will also help older people to engage with professionals, take part in community activities, understand their rights as an older person, access information to make informed choices and, at the end of the day, have their voices heard.
HOPE will offer a programme of training, events, and workshops to support and develop the country’s existing and newly recruited advocates. It will also set up local forums of advocates and other local stakeholders so the project can better understand what specific support older people in Wales need.
HOPE’s project manager Louise Hughes says: “ HOPE is going to make a huge difference to the lives of many older people in Wales who currently don’t know how to deal with their concerns, don’t have the confidence to speak up about what they really need, or they are alone and have no one else to support them. This project will help shine a light on their needs and aspirations so they can live a more fulfilling and dignified later life.”
The Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan MS says: “I’m delighted that Welsh Government funding of over £600,000 has enabled HOPE to be launched. This exciting new project will assist people to engage, participate, gain information, and understand their rights, to name just a few ways HOPE will support older people. I wish the project well as it launches and look forward to hearing how it is helping people across Wales.”
The project, which will be delivered in partnership with local Age Cymru Partners and local Age Connect organisations, will be funded by the Welsh government for three years until March 2023.