£75,000 appeal to help Stoke-on-Trent residents to Live Longer, Live Stronger!

A charity founded to help people to enjoy life as we get older has launched its first ever fundraising appeal.

Living Longer, Living Stronger! aims to raise £75,000 to help put in place positive support programmes to help people to live well as they get older.

There are now more than 11 million people aged over 65 in the UK and a third of the population is aged 50 or over.

A baby born in 2011 is almost eight times more likely to live until 100 than a baby born in 1931.

But these statistics present a huge challenge for society and has led the Beth Johnson Foundation to launch its first public appeal in its 42 year history.

“We want everybody to enjoy a greater quality of life as they age,” said Colin Hann, Chair of the Beth Johnson Foundation. “Advances in medical science and advancements in nutrition, access to healthcare and other quality of life factors have greatly improved life expectation in recent times.

The positive impacts are obvious but ageing well offers one of the greatest challenges to our society and we are addressing this through our Living Longer, Living Stronger! appeal.”

Living Longer, Living Stronger! will be launched in the Windsor Room, Stoke Town Hall, on November 19 (5.45pm). The Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Cllr Majid Khan, will welcome guests to the event.

The appeal aims to:

·                        Help more and more people prepare for, and be in control of, the challenges and opportunities that come with ageing.

·                        Give older people a choice and a voice. We will be able to support more people when they are most vulnerable through providing advocacy services to those over 50 with cancer or dementia.

·                        Help more people work across the generations, by bringing older and younger people together on creative and practical projects, helping them to build intergenerational relationships and mutual understanding.

Business Development & Marketing Manager Laurence Littler added: “We need to raise £75,000 to grow and diversify our income. Our first fundraising appeal is an exciting opportunity to do this. We want to help more and more people to prepare for, and be in control of, the challenges and opportunities that come with ageing and your continuing support will make this possible.”

The story of Stoke-on-Trent pensioner John Davies starkly illustrates the need for support as people make the transformation into older age.

John has suffered with anxiety and a tendency towards depression throughout his life and this resulted in him being unable to continue to work while in his fifties.

John then experienced a rapid spiral into depression and alcohol use which led to the break-up of his marriage. He eventually asked doctors to admit him onto a psychiatric ward at Harplands Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent.

The Beth Johnson Foundation has helped John to turn his life around. Regular support from Beth Johnson workers has seen John enter retirement in a positive place and he now volunteers in the hospital where he suffered his lowest moments.

You can see John’s story here – http://vimeo.com/99621628

John said: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the wonderful help of the Beth Johnson Foundation. To help more people like me, I ask everyone to support the appeal, if they can, by giving their time or money.”

ENDS

For media enquiries contact Laurence Littler by telephone on 01782 844036, email l.littler@bjf.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

The Beth Johnson Foundation is a registered charity based in Stoke-on-Trent that has been working to make a positive impact and difference to the lives of older people for over 40 years. We work to ensure people enjoy a greater quality of life as they age. To achieve this we:

  • Work to build resilience across life’s key transitions, developing individual and community strengths, to achieve our vision that everyone should enjoy a great older age.
  • Provide support and research activities, challenging stereotypes, sharing learning and working inter-generationally, as we believe that each generation has things to contribute and receive.
  • Help older people to be recognised and respected as an integral part of our world: Adding value, creativity, meaning, dynamism and wisdom to how and where we live.
  • Challenge stereotypes and also age discrimination where it occurs: Helping to change people’s, often negative, perceptions of this age group to positive ones based on knowledge and experience, not prejudice.
  • Offer accredited awareness training, from our Centre for Intergenerational Practice,  for housing, health and statutory bodies on how to, not just overcome some stereotypes of older people, but on ways to engage with all sectors of society, releasing their potential and taking away the fear of, and fears in, ageing.
  • Give people choice and a voice by running advocacy services for those over 50 who are experiencing cancer or dementia, helping them and their carers cope with some of life’s most challenging times.
  • Try and represent the views of older people helping to get their concerns and issues, such as health and wellbeing, on the public and policy agenda.
  • Work to promote the understanding of age-friendly cities and communities.

To find out more about our strategies and programmes please visit our website: www.bjf.org.uk