Older People’s Forum: Amplifying the Voice of Older People in Brent

Zeenat from the ADPA introduces her organisation and its role within the Older People's Forum in Brent.

By Zeenat, CEO of the Asian People’s Disability Alliance (APDA)

APDA is a Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation that has proudly been based in Brent for over 35 years. We have been working to promote the rights of disabled people, campaign for policies to improve their quality of life and raise awareness of their evolving needs. We deliver support and advice alongside our holistic and bespoke direct delivery services for daycare and development activities and home personal care support.

We recently joined the Older People’s Forum, one of Brent’s thematic lead working groups, and have found it a very useful method of engaging with other organisations that are also tackling the community issues faced by Older people in the borough of Brent.

APDA has always been a strong advocate for the voices of our users to be provided an accessible platform and for the good and fair representation of the actual communities, which is vital to ensuring the borough of Brent looks at addressing and supporting the people living within it. As part of this Thematic working group, we have been able to take the learning and issue directly from those we work with and share that to raise and highlight what the current issues are that affect people, and what changes could be made to make their lives a little more better with implementing those changes and support.

We find that being part of Networks, and especially this working group, is indeed a valuable tool to ensure that all issues affecting our community are heard and discussions are had amongst like-minded groups that are also working hard to support similar user groups in the borough.

During the recent meetings attended at the Older People’s Thematic group, discussions have been focusing on the costs of living crisis and the detrimental impact this is having on already struggling Older residents in the Borough, about the need for more warm spaces, and more cheaper and accessible transport too. Transport has been a very contentious topic at the best of times, but more so now with people struggling to pay for heating their homes or even getting their regular dial-a-ride slots with the introduction of the new TFL systems in November 2023 and the digital app for users and their carers.  Real-life experiences are vital to ensure that changes that benefit the most vulnerable in our societies can be made.

We encourage other organisations to make some time to participate in consultations and why not join this Thematic group or others like them in the borough. I know we are all already spread quite thin in the Voluntary Sector, but without our voices, our communities will be forgotten quickly. Given the current financial constraints in each local borough, these are challenging and pressing times we face, with the ever-rising levels of need in all areas of society. However, without your representation at the meetings, your important voices are the bridge to ensuring that the communities you represent and support are seen and heard by the policymakers and budget holders. 

We look forward to seeing more of you at the next meeting (scheduled on May 24) and at other useful Network meetings organised by CVS Brent to ensure all of our communities are seen and heard, thus getting the full and suitable culturally sensitive support they all desperately need.

To join the Old People’s Forum, email support@cvsbrent.org.uk.

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