This year, we launched two national campaigns:
- Let’s get personal- calling on the government to introduce free personal care for all people over 65.
- Credit where it’s due - calling for the government to increase the uptake of Pension Credit to ensure everyone entitled to it receives it.
Since launching, we’ve worked with supporters across the country to share their stories and move these important issues up the political agenda, demanding that decision makers take action.
Here are our top 10 highlights:
From Newcastle and Glasgow to Gosport and Watford, we’ve visited older people groups and forums across the country. Sharing information with attendees about our campaigns and finding out more about the key issues affecting them as they grow older. This insight is invaluable when informing our campaigns and determining what we take action on.
We made powerful films featuring some of our wonderful campaigners: Anisah, Eve, Patricia and Margaret, Graham, Sue and Gillian. These films told the stories of the people on the ground who are impacted by these failing systems. We have shared them across social media and directly with decision makers to remind them why solutions are needed.
In April, we held a parliamentary reception and invited MPs to come and learn more about the social care system and why we believe introducing free personal care would help people. This event was attended by politicians from all parties, who got to find out how much it would cost to introduce free personal care and met people with personal experience of the social care system. Following this event, many of the MPs pledged to support our campaign calls in Westminster.
During the spring, over 12,000 people contacted their local councillors, asking them to pledge to support free personal care and pass a motion with their local council. Councillors across the country have been taking this action and we look forward to continue to work with them next year.
In June, we calculated how much Pension Credit was going unclaimed in every parliamentary constituency. Over 3,000 of our campaigners then sent these powerful statistics to their local MPs. This activity resulted in over 100 MPs supporting the campaign on social media and issuing local press releases, Stephen Pound MP asking a Prime Minister’s question and Chris Elmore MP securing a debate in Westminster Hall.
In the summer we started conducting ‘Conversations on Care’ events, speaking to people across the country about the realities of growing older and what they need from the social care system. We are sharing their thoughts and priorities with the MPs who represent each of these local groups and encouraging them to speak up on this issue in Parliament.
In September, almost 14,000 people signed our petition in just over two weeks, calling for the government to introduce free personal care. We delivered this petition to the Prime Minster at 10 Downing Street with Margaret and Patricia who have personal experience of the failing care system and paying catastrophic costs. This activity kept the issue of free personal care in the public eye, keeping the pressure up on politicians of all parties to take action.
In November, over 1,600 people shared their views on the Pension Credit system, including the barriers they feel exist when trying to claim this much needed benefit. Thanks to everyone who responded to this survey. Your have given us powerful evidence which we will use to continue to make the case for reform of the system.
We secured impactful press coverage at key times throughout the year. This included our new research showing that 300,000 people have sold their homes to pay for care in the last 20 years. This shocking statistic was featured on the front page of the Daily Mail and the Daily Express just before the political party conferences. We also had Pension Credit coverage in a range of national and local press outlets throughout the summer.
- In December we supported our campaigners across the UK to question their local parliamentary candidates. To facilitate this we created packs with information on our campaigns and suggested questions that could be asked at local hustings events or on the doorstep. We have already started receiving feedback, and this unique intelligence will help us determine our 2020 strategy around which MPs to target in the new parliament.
As you can see, it’s been a busy 2019. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to support our campaigns, whether you sent a letter or email to your MP or councillor, signed a petition, or responded to a survey.
Your voices are being heard.
We were pleased to see manifesto commitments on free personal care from the Labour Party, free social care for over 65’s from the Green Party, and the SNP have committed to calling for a Pension Credit take up and awareness campaign. Additionally, the Social Security Committee in the Scottish parliament has begun an inquiry into benefits, and we have submitted evidence on Pension Credit.
If you’re not already campaigning with us, anyone can take part. Just sign up to receive our campaign network email newsletter and we will keep you informed about what we’re up to and how you can get involved.
Thank you for all your support in 2019 and we look forward to campaigning with you in 2020.