Last week, a new kind of partnership came of age at Age UK. The Age Action Alliance – the network for partnership working and practical action to improve later life – celebrated its first anniversary with a ‘winter warmth’ themed Parliamentary reception.
It is just over a year since the Cabinet’s Social Justice Committee asked Age UK to help promote cross sector collaborative action on ageing, providing joint Secretariat with the Department for Work and Pensions. The Alliance is a vehicle to develop society’s response to demographic change, encouraging collaboration and recognising that there are areas where systemic success cannot be achieved by any single sector or organisation. Over 260 organisations are now members of this unique network.
At the reception, Age UK’s Group Chief Executive, Tom Wright, and others joined a packed pavilion of Parliamentarians, members, Ministers and supporters to mark the first year of the Age Action Alliance. The ‘Safe Warm Homes’ group was showcased, which has brought together many organisations working to keep older people stay safe, warm and well this winter. Tom Wright tied in messages about the Alliance with the launch of ‘The Cost of Cold’, Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign report, with Ian Duncan Smith MP (Secretary of State for Work & Pensions) and Ed Balls MP (Shadow Chancellor) amongst those photographed in support of the campaign.
Laura Sandys MP speaks at the Age Action Alliance reception
A real buzz in the room and some great networking, was aided by stickers identifying members interest in particular themes of the Alliance and working groups, now operating through the Alliance network. The venue and presence of Parliamentarians helped – but there is another explanation for why the gathering was such a great success.
Here was a unique crowd. No matter their interest or involvement with the Alliance, all volunteer their time and effort to improving older people’s lives. All share a desire to ensure that an ageing population is something to celebrate but also to prepare for, to ensure we all age well and that an ageing society can continue to thrive economically and socially.