Older people from the Hoo Peninsula have told Mark Reckless that he must ensure that the needs of older people in rural communities in England are properly considered by all levels of government.
The call came at an event hosted by Karen Treacy of Age UK Medway at The Village Hall, Mallard Way, Lower Stoke, Rochester on 23rd August 2013 and was part of Age UK’s nationwide campaign “Later Life in Rural England” which aims to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by older people living in rural England.
Issues and concerns raised during the meeting included:-
- Loneliness and isolation: several residents feel lonely and isolated and wish she had someone to talk to on a regular basis
- Policing in the area: a few residents complained of trouble caused by youths in the area and lack of police on patrol to deal with it
- Bus routes and services: there was a general concern from residents that there is no direct bus route to the main hospital and that many have to pay for taxis to attend appointments. Buses run far less frequently than in town areas and residents feel that there should be more buses running more frequently
- GPs: It was felt that there should be a medical centre similar to the Will Adams in Gillingham available to all residents
- Sheltered accommodation and residential care: residents complained that most of the housing is now owned privately and costs are extortionate
- Post office: there was concern that the local post office was moving to a less convenient location but Mark Reckless said that this was now not going ahead
- District nurse: A resident claimed that the local district nurse was being removed from Hoo and they now have to travel to Rochester to see a nurse
- Oil heating : A resident asked what is the government going to do to cut costs
Mark Reckless MP said:
“I was delighted to meet with some of the older members of our community to listen to and discuss their concerns about living in the countryside.
There are many positive aspects of living in a rural environment – people in the countryside do tend to live longer. However, as we heard, there are also a number of issues which we need to continue working on such as rural transport, energy costs, and access to health services.
I would like to thank Age UK Medway for organising this very useful debate, and also all the residents who took the time to come along and share their views with me.”
John Norley, Chief Executive of Age UK Medway said:
“Life in rural parts of Medway can be tough for many older people with too many struggling to get to the shops and hospital because of lack of local bus services.
“The charity’s campaign “Later life in Rural England”, is calling for all levels of government to:
- “rural proof” policy and services that may have an impact on rural areas and make older people a priority in this process
- Take the “rural premium” and social value of services into account
- Support community participation
- Target social isolation in rural areas
To support the Later life in Rural England campaign or to find out more, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/rural or contact Alice Woudhysen, Senior Campaigns Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or 02030330516.