Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Thousands of older workers across the UK are faced with the prospect of entering the New Year without any work. The cuts, though affecting all ages in employment are set to hit the over 50s the hardest.

In response to this cull, an innovative new project aimed at assisting the over 50s with specialist support and advice will launch in January.

The new Help Line project Promoting Age Diversity (PAD) will be delivered by Wise Owls a non-profit and leading over 50s support & employment agency, following funding from Trust for London. The project will provide vital tips, support and information that will arm the job seeker with the tools they need to take on the process of looking for meaningful employment and helping them overcome their situation.

Wise Owls director Chris Walsh said "Promoting Age Diversity (PAD) will help 50s job seekers from across London and the UK get specialist support both on-line and by phone from the Wise Owls experts."

He continued "The reason this service has never been so important is clear. In the past the public sector has started its redundancy programmes by targeting their older staff, and it looks increasingly likely this will be happening again."

This is a major improvement for jobseekers who have often fallen foul of the postcode lottery. This extension to will allow anyone in the UK to call and receive the help they need.

This means that over 50s job seekers from across London and the UK can get specialist support both on-line and by phone from the Wise Owls experts. Wise Owls has hundreds of job vacancies on its two websites and, and has contacts with thousands of employers who understand the benefits of employing staff of all ages and is able to offer expert free advice to help older people retain and get a job. This support is available to all over 50s regardless of postcode.

The number for the help line is 0207 278 5191 - email

Monday, 20 December 2010

EFB Mock Tribunal with Lewis Silkin

The Employers Forum on Belief in association with Lewis Silkin invites you to a Mock Tribunal. The only time you’ll get to go to a tribunal where everyone’s a winner! This is a unique opportunity to hear from a lawyer, tribunal judge and barrister in a simulated hearing focussed on discrimination on grounds of religion or belief. Experience the drama and tension of a tribunal first hand but without paying the penalty if you get things wrong. Guided by legal experts Lewis Silkin, you will learn – the proceedings, the evidence required, the possible objective justifications and potential questions, who might be called and what will they be asked. And a chance to cast your verdict. Whether you’re an in-house lawyer, HR specialist or line manager you are going to want to be at this event.


£150 for EFB members

£275 for non members

Please click here to complete a booking form for this event.


"It was extremely useful and the topic was highly relevant".Emma Smith, Herbert Smith LLP.

"It was good to debate the issues and see that these things are rarely clear cut,"Sharon Kyle, Sodexo.

To find out what happens in mock tribunals click here.

Event details

Start Date:18/01/2011
End Date:18/01/2011
Location:Lewis Silkin LLP, 5 Chancery Lane, Clifford's Inn, London EC4A 1BL

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Unemployment On The Rise Yet Again

Figures released yesterday from the Office of National Statistics have shown that unemployment across the UK has risen by 35,000 in the last 3 months.

With unemployment now standing at the 2.5 million mark, the increase has been widely blamed on recent public spending cuts introduced by the government in their comprehensive spending review. This is of particular concern to over 50s, as early indications from Wise Owls' research has shown that they are felling the brunt of public sector job losses.

The research is ongoing, with the findings expected to be published early in the new year, and is part of a larger Age Equality Impact Assessment Campaign being conducted by Wise Owls.

Friday, 10 December 2010

NGO Coalition on Intergenerational Solidarity welcomes EPSCO decision to declare 2012 European Year for Active Ageing & Solidarity between Generations

We are pleased that the EPSCO Council supported our call and has decided to extend the title for the proposed European Year 2012 to “Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations”.

We welcome the objectives of the Year, i.e. “to encourage and support the efforts of Member States, their regional and local authorities, social partners, civil society and the business community to promote active ageing and to do more to mobilise the potential of the rapidly growing population in their late 50s and above, thereby creating a society for all ages and fostering solidarity and cooperation between generations”.

Together with a large coalition of European NGOs, we have campaigned for several years now to promote a vision of a society for all ages based on greater solidarity and cooperation between generations. Through this campaign we have collected examples of good practice and recommendations to help policy makers at local, national and European level design policies that strengthen intergenerational solidarity through active ageing. Empowering older people to age in good health and to contribute more actively to the labour market and to their communities is necessary to help us cope with our demographic challenge in a way that is fair and sustainable for all generations.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Conservative MP supports campaign but fails to endorse it

Wise Owls received a response today from the Conservative MP for Cardiff North Jonathan Evans. The letter, which is in response to our Equality Impact Assessment Campaign agreed with the sentiment of our campign, but failed to go that step further and support the suggestions made within it.

The campaign asks the government to assess the implications of the cuts to those most in need that come under the equality banner. In addition Wise Owls are asking for the government to measure the cuts on the workforce - taking a measurement of exisitng employees, those recruited and those made redudant by age.

It is our understanding that until we have a baseline figure, we are unable to tell whether staff are being targetted because of age when it comes to employment. Therefore it has been left to us to accumalate these statistics and that is what we are in the process of doing now.

Last year Wise Owls embarked on a research of all employees in the London borough councils and the Englsih National councils using the FOI Act. Our results and conclusion can be viewed here. Ageism in the public sector workforce - Wise Owls Age Audit

The Age Discrimination Act introduced in 2006 and updated in 2010 though welcome, will fail to be as protective as it need be unless statistic ananlysis is included iwithin its framework.

For the full letter from Jonathan Evans - click here.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

GP's Guilty of Age Discrimination

A new report has revealed that older people are less likely to recieve referals from thier GP than younger people with similar symptoms.

In a study contucted by a team from the King's Fund and University College London, which compared referal for three common symptoms in patients of different ages, sex and wealth, people aged over 85 were found to be 61% less likely to be refered for postmenopausal bleeding and 32% less likely to be refered for hip pain. The team analysed data for 130,000 patients from 326 practices throughout the UK over a 6 year period.

The report published yesterday in the British Medical Journal did not examin the reasoning behind GPs decision, however Michelle Mitchell of Age UK stressed that "A doctor's decision to refer patients must be based solely on the patient's clinical need, not their age. Age discrimination in health provision will be unlawful from 2012 and it can't come a moment too soon for older people in need of medical care."

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Royal Wedding Day Will Fall On European Day Of Solidarity Between Generations

The wedding day of Prince William and Ms Middleton, announced yesterday, will take place on the 3rd European Day of Solidarity between Generations and will give a special dimension to the numerous activities organised on that day across the European Union.

AGE, together with 13 EU NGOs, has been running a campaign to promote greater solidarity and cooperation between generations. On 29 April 2009, this NGO coalition launched the first EU Day of Solidarity between Generations which was celebrated across the EU.

More information on the European Day of Solidarity between Generations can be found at:

"Addressing Dementia Should Go Beyond The Strictly Medical Approach" Says AGE EU

“With the rapid demographic ageing, the prevalence of dementia is expected to increase sharply in the near future. A better coordination of social and health policies on old age dementia is therefore needed to tackle mental health diseases and to ensure a decent life to all patients with dementia and their families. We need a holistic approach to create a dementia friendly society”, highlighted Anne-Sophie Parent on the eve of the EU Presidency Conference on Dementia

In the last few years, the European Union has acknowledged the growing prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and has called for coordinated action through initiatives, such as the Joint Programming Initiative on Alzheimer and other neurodegenerative diseases launched last April to boost research in that area.

AGE Platform Europe has just issued a position paper stressing the need to tackle all dimensions of mental health diseases, from prevention to measures in support of informal carers, and suggesting seven recommendations to EU and national policy makers:

1. Create an “Alzheimer friendly” environment;

2. Improve quality of life of patients without relying only on medication;

3. Support informal carers;

4. Ensure adequate financing to tackle inequalities and ensure quality;

5. Change the way society looks at dementia;

6. Promote healthy ageing and well-being of older people;

7. Use the Open Method of Coordination to develop and exchange good practices.

This position paper entitled “Position on Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias: Widen the debate beyond care and treatment issues” can be accessed on the AGE website at:

Monday, 22 November 2010

European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing Conference Announced

The draft agenda for the upcoming Stakeholders Consultation Conference on European Innovation on Active and Healthy aging was released today. The conference, which will be held this Friday in Brussels will feature a series of speechs, as well as open discussions with the expert panel and audience

Click here to view the full draft agenda

Friday, 19 November 2010

Another Wise Owl Enters The Jungle

Comedian and novelist Jenny Eclair has become the latest over 50 to enter I'm A Celebrity

Her arrival brings the number of over 50s in the camp to 5, only just shy of the 50% mark. This strong representation is extremly encouraging and proves that the babyboomers are just as capable when it comes to extreme survival as younger generations!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Informal Guide to help the elderly avoid accidents

Winter is a particularly difficult time of year for everyone, but particularly for senior citizens. As the temperatures drop and the nights draw in the likelihood of accidents and injuries increase. An informal guide has been produced to help the elderly stay safe and avoid accidents during winter and here are just three of their tips:

1) Not to walk on icy/snowy paths – instead look for routes which are dry or have been cleared

2) Wall mounted heaters are preferable to portable ones as they do not pose a tripping hazard

3) Replace old slippers and canes as these can become worn out and smooth, offering little protection to winter conditions

To download the guide click here

Support the Wise Owls in I'm A Celebrity: Get me Out Of Here

As ever, each year we support the Wise Owls/Babyboomer representatives on I'm A Celebrity, and we usually win! This year, the candidates we urge you to support are:

Gillian McKeith A classic example of a nagging female babyboomer. Can she take as much as she gives? (probably not, judging by her coffin performance!)

Nigel Havers The Mr.Smoothie babyboomer.

Britt Ekland A 68er sex symbol and excellent in her Swedish maternal role.

Linford Christie Sprinting legend whose had more gold medals than hot dinners!

Who do you want to win? Vote in our new poll here

Monday, 15 November 2010

Over 55's Out Of Work For 20% Longer Than 24-54 Year Old's

It has been reveald that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 55's can expect to on average be out of work for 35 weeks, 20% longer than those aged 24-54.

Trude Diamond, who has been out of work for two years, strongly suspects that the companies with who she has had interviews are reluctant to employ people they believe will retire soon.

Psychologist Carrell Chadwell suggests tackling this issue head on. “They’re likely to wonder how long you are going to stay. You want to mention that. Tell them what your goals are and that you will be there at least several years.”

Friday, 12 November 2010

Government Aims To 'Make Work Pay'

Yesterday, the coalition government announced new plans to overhaul the benefit system for the long term unemployed, in a effort to 'make work pay'.

The headline project will see the current complex web of work related benefits simplified into a single, unverisal credit, which aims to make it simpler to claim and less vulnerable to fraud. Claimers will also get to keep more of their income when they move into employment, however under tough new rules they will have their benefits stopped for 3 years if they refuse more than 3 job offers.

The new system will mostly be dealt with over the internet, despite an estimated 1.5 million jobseekers not having access to it.

The new scheme is expected to begin to be rolled out by 2013, being fully implented sometime after 2015.

For more information, click here

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Minister Unveils More Generous Basic State Pension Proposals

The Government is considering plans to increase the state pension to about £140 a week to ensure everybody has a “decent” income in retirement.

Ministers are drawing up plans to sweep away the current means-tested system and introduce a new flat-rate pension which would replace the basic state pension, the second state pension and pension credit.

At a £140 a week, the new ‘universal’ pension would be worth considerably more than the present basic state pension of £97.65 a week for a single person and £156.15 for a couple. On top of this means-tested top-ups ensure the poorest single pensioners have an income of at least £132.60 and couples get £202.40.

Ministers claim that scrapping the present complicated and expensive system is expected to save enough money from reduced bureaucracy to pay for the new pension and that the move would benefit everybody in retirement, including the better off.

It seems the new system would probably be based on residency in Britain and not on National Insurance contributions.

The proposed new system would particular benefit women, many of whom lose out on the current state pension arrangements after taking time out of work to bring up children.

Ministers are planning to publish a Green Paper before the end of the year, which will be followed by a consultation on the proposals. They hope to implement the new system before the end of this Parliament in 2015.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Rugby Player 'Too Old To Play'

Last year, 55 year old Stephen Clee stepped in to play against Trecorchy Seconds after one of his players was forced off injured. Now, with injury crisis mounting at his new club, Tonyrefail RFC, he has offered up his services again, only to be told he his 'too old to play'.

Upset by this apparent descrimination, Mr. Clee has written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission of Wales for advise and has also threaten to quit his current club.

“This is not only important to me but to all over-50s who believe they are fit and able enough to still play rugby at a local level, in fact many of us over 50 are fitter than some under-30s who turn out regularly on Saturdays to play,” he said.

“I think I can deal with the physicality of it all. I wouldn’t even attempt to put myself in the position if I didn’t think I was. I think I’m old enough and experienced enough having played enough rugby in the past to be able to say to the second team captain I feel I’m capable of playing at least half a game.”

Read More

Thursday, 4 November 2010

60th Anniversary of the European Convention of Fundamental Rights

Don’t let the crisis deprive older people of their fundamental rights!

"We should be rejoicing today but the austerity measures introduced recently in some Member States are depriving many older people of their fundamental rights",
deplored Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Director, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights.

While AGE welcomes the decisive steps that have been taken to securing a Europe of fundamental rights through the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights and the commitment of both the European Parliament and the Council to the promotion of fundamental rights as a priority for their future work, AGE questions what is actually being done to safeguard the fundamental rights of older people and flags up why this must now be a priority.

“Several Member States use the excuse of the on-going crisis to introduce drastic cuts in the social protection of older people”, stressed Ms Parent. “The rights of the elderly, in particular older women, are being threatened,” she added, “and these reforms will have a detrimental impact on the most vulnerable members of our society”.

“The new Lisbon Treaty (Article 9 on the social clause and Article 25 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU) creates a new legal framework to justify EU action to protect the fundamental rights of older people and we would like to see some concrete commitment at EU and national level to ensure a dignified life to all, including older people,” concluded Ms Parent


Monday, 25 October 2010

Senate campaigns for older people in Wales

Four national older people's organisations are joining to create a senate to give older people a stronger voice in Wales.

The Welsh Senate of Older People will lobby the UK and Welsh Assembly Governments on matters such as age discrimination, housing and health.

The senate has been launched at the assembly in Cardiff Bay.

It will also work to improve a wide range of services to the elderly in Wales.

The four organisations joining together are the National Old Age Pensioners Association of Wales, the National Pensioners Convention Wales, Older People's Advisory Group Cymru and Pensioners Forum Wales.

A spokesperson for the senate said: "The population of Wales is ageing at a faster rate than any other part of the UK, and in 20 years time one in three Welsh adults will be aged 65 or over.

"Older people's issues have become increasingly prominent in recent years and the creation of the senate is a significant milestone in the journey to unite older people the length and breadth of Wales."

Welsh Office Minister David Jones, who launched the senate, said: "Government, both in London and Cardiff, needs to hear about the concerns of older people.

"By 2020, half the population of the UK will be aged 50 and over.

"That is why we genuinely want to hear about the issues facing older people today, so that government action meets their needs."

Orginal article from the BBC