Age Scotland launches Let’s Get Moving!

Let’s get moving is the latest campaign from Age Scotland aiming to promote the benefits of activity to older people by telling the stories of people from across Scotland about what they do to keep active and their motivation to keep doing regular exercise. 

Keith Robson, Head of Charity Services for Age Scotland, commented, “We all know that that we could do with getting more exercise, indeed, in a recent survey the charity conducted, we found that only 55% of respondents were getting the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week.  Instead of telling people off for not doing exercise, Age Scotland is taking a different approach and telling the stories of what people do to keep active and why.


We’ve heard from 81 year old ladies who can plank for a minute, grandads taking part in Walking Football and hundreds more.  Whilst all the people who we spoke to knew the benefits of activity include helping to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and dementia this was never the first reason they gave for taking part in an activity.  Being social, keeping up with the grandkids and feeling a part of a community were more often quoted reasons for being active. So Age Scotland will be focusing on promoting these stories to encourage more people to get moving, and in doing so, get more people loving later life.”

Sandra White MSP is backing the campaign: “The importance of physical activity in older people cannot be understated. Be it to maintain a healthy body and mind or to combat loneliness, making sure we remain active is key.”

“Being the Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Older People, Age & Ageing I am acutely aware of the difference staying active can make in later life. Local support groups who work to promote and maintain physical activity with older constituents, as well as across all age groups, are important in these efforts.”

“As such I warmly welcome this scheme and wish it every success”

Anas Sarwar MSP commented “The Lets Get Moving Campaign makes clear that, whatever your age, keeping active is good for your health and quality of life.  The Scottish Health Survey published last week shows we still have much to do on issues like exercise and tackling obesity, so I congratulate Age Scotland on getting the message out there that there are simple things the great majority of us could do to be more active.”

Miles Briggs MSP also backs the campaign; “I commend Age Scotland for launching their Let’s Get Moving! Campaign and wish it every success.

“There is a mass of evidence that shows that physical exercise can help prevent a wide range of health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and dementia, and can boost mood and confidence. It is really important that all sections of society and people of all ages, including our elderly citizens, are encouraged to exercise and are aware that even gentle activities like short walks can make a real difference to their health.

“I hope Age Scotland’s campaign will persuade many older people to consider taking up a new sport or rediscovering a physical activity they used to enjoy doing.”

Alison Johnstone MSP commented “There needs to be a greater promotion of the many benefits exercise can have for older people in Scotland. Not only that, we need to do better in explaining simple ways that exercise can be incorporated into peoples’ lives with little or no cost. It’s understandable that many Scots, old and young, struggle to exercise when transport policy in this country has continually prioritised private cars over public transport, walking and cycling.”

Willie Rennie MSP also backs the campaign; “No matter what your age is, keeping fit and active should always be at the heart of anyone’s lifestyle. When people get older, being active can be more difficult, but it is precisely for that reason that older people should be encouraged more to live an active lifestyle.

“Campaigns such as this one from Age Scotland are exactly what is needed to help older generations to keep moving.”

To find out more about the campaign visit our website.



From secondary school to corridors of power – via volunteering

James Dalgleish, 18, came to Age Scotland as a volunteer in February 2014 to work in the Policy and Communications department. He’s been helping Policy Engagement Officer, Hannah Lister with event planning, as well as providing administrative support to the policy and communications team.

The main part of James’ work has focused around the Age Scotland Awards ceremony which will take place at the Scottish Parliament in October. James co-ordinated the mail-out of nomination packs to 900 member groups, and the email to all the local authorities in Scotland, MPs and MSPs.


Hannah says: “James first started in a volunteering capacity with me in my previous job so when an opportunity arose for a volunteer to help with the Age Scotland Awards and James applied, I knew he would be the ideal person to help us.

“James is conscientious and works well with the rest of the team. He has completely blossomed in the time I have known him into a professional young man and he is providing very valuable support to our policy and communications team. He also makes a great cuppa! I hope he’s learning a lot from his time here with us!”

James showed an understanding of the importance of doing voluntary work when he was only 15. In his 3rd year at Broughton High School, he got involved with the Scottish Youth Parliament and took on his first volunteering role. He worked as a parliamentary assistant in the Scottish Parliament, carried out research, saw committees at work and sat in on First Minister’s Questions.

“I really enjoyed the experience so I went on to help out in my local MSP’s office in January 2012 and then I managed to get an internship between Feb and August 2013 as a case worker in an MP’s office. That’s such an interesting job, such an eye-opener into the way the world works because people turn up with every sort of issue at their MP’s office. I got the chance to help people – that’s what I enjoy the most.

“I’ve now got a paid part-time position working with an MP but I still come into Age Scotland to help with the co-ordination of the Awards celebrations and like doing both – helping people to love later life and working with politicians,” says James.

Find out more about volunteering opportunities with Age Scotland and the Silver Line Scotland.

There is still time to nominate a volunteer or volunteer group for the 2014 Age Scotland Awards

Ending Loneliness and Isolation: Laughs, tears and shortbread

Part of my job is to organise the Cross Party Group for Older People, Age and Ageing (CPG) at the Scottish Parliament, and this month saw a very special one held on a topic very close to most people’s hearts. Everybody knows someone who is living alone. But what about those of us who live alone and are ageing? As friends around us start to leave this world, living alone can become more and more difficult, both mentally and physically.

For this sensitive topic, the CPG was fortunate enough to secure two fantastic speakers; Isabella Goldie, Head of the Mental Health Foundation in Scotland and Esther Rantzen CBE, founder of The Silver Line.


Isobella Goldie, Sandra White MSP, Esther Rantzen and Fiona McLeod MSP

Isabella began the meeting by setting the context of the hard-hitting impact that loneliness and isolation can have on older people.She made sure the group was clear on the stark differences between isolation and loneliness. Isolation, she said, refers to a separation from social or family contact, lack of community engagement or connection to services. Loneliness is subjective– it’s about how people feel about perceived isolation.

So how can we start to tackle this feeling of loneliness?

A few years ago, Esther Rantzen CBE, a successful broadcaster and a founder of ChildLine in 1986, had come to the realisation that despite her continuing busy lifestyle and being surrounded by family and friends, she was not only growing older, but also lonelier.

Esther explained: “I have come to the conclusion that loneliness, which absolutely is not the same as isolation, is in my view associated with loss.

“It can be loss of a partner, it can be loss of a job, it can be loss of sense, sight or hearing, it can be loss of a driving license, and it can be loss of mobility.

“But what it does, it draws in the horizons of your life and your front door becomes a barrier that becomes more and more difficult to cross because what it erodes is self-esteem and confidence.”

So what did she do? Well, being a woman of action, and with her experience of ChildLine, Esther was inspired to found The Silver Line – a helpline for older people which was initially trialled in the north of England.

On 25th November 2013, the service was launched UK-wide. In Scotland, the helpline is delivered in partnership by The Silver Line and Age Scotland as Silver Line Scotland.

It is a 24-hour, freephone helpline answered by real people – not machines – who are there to offer information, friendship and advice to older people all day, every day. Those at the meeting won’t forget the number – because Esther sang it to them – but for everyone else it’s 0800 4 70 80 90. Esther described one gentleman who, after his first call, described the feeling of ‘belonging to the human race’ again. The impact that one call a week can have on someone’s life can be that huge.

The significant and positive contribution that older people play in society is often overlooked. Esther was keen to highlight this, saying: “They are our national treasure, they are our resource – not just a series of problems. Have a look at the number of volunteers of 65-plus who keep our society going. Please do everything you can to lift the self-esteem of the older population’’ she added.

The meeting ended with a clip from Bob, a chatty 92 year old chap who was feeling desperately lonely after being widowed. He now calls The Silver Line. The video of his experience was humbling to watch and brought a tear to every eye in the room. For nothing will ever stop the pangs of heartbreak Bob experiences on a daily basis and nothing can bring back his beloved late wife Cath- but that phone call- that one, half hour phone call to a Silver Line friend, helps Bob to feel loved and wanted again.

Thanks to everyone who came along and to Moira Bayne from Housing Options Scotland who later tweeted ‘Had a great day @ScotParl listening to Esther Rantzen talk about @agescotland and Silver Line. Laughs, tears and shortbread. Perfect day’

The Silver Line Scotland is a 24 hour service providing free information, advice and friendship to older people. The number is 0800 4 70 80 90

Next CPG meeting will be held on Wednesday 11th June 12.45pm Committee Room 2 contact me at for more details.

Still Waiting at the Scottish Parliament

Today Age Scotland presented Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP with 6,500 signatures gathered for its Still Waiting Petition.  But the campaign is not over yet says Doug Anthoney.

This morning we met with supporters of our campaign and prepared to brave the cold over enormous scones and a cup of tea (or coffee). Supporters turned up from local member group in Dumbiedykes, Gilmerton 60+ Group, Community Transport Association Scotland, Bus Users UK, Edinburgh Milan and the National Association of Occupational Pensioners.

blog-1We were really pleased that Keith Brown MSP and Minister for Transport and Veterans had agreed to meet us for the hand over. We headed over to the parliament and had a photo session with our supporters and were pleased to greet Mr Brown.

blog-2 Our Head of Charity Services, Katie Docherty, and the Minister had a discussion about how community transport has had its profile raised and both she and the Minister agreed that the two debates in Parliament had been very good. The Minister pointed to the £1m fund for new buses which we have welcomed as great support for existing community transport organisations but will not help address areas with no exisiting access. However regarding our, and our thousands of signatories’ call for a better bus pass, the Minister said that this isn’t something they think is possible because of the cost of putting it in given how varied community transport is and that it is deregulated.


He then had a chat with the other members of the group about where they’d come form and what their experiences of public transport were.

We were then greeted by Sarah Boyack MSP who wrapped up and came out to especially to support our campaign.

Following this morning’s gathering, we can reflect on some significant achievements for the Still Waiting campaign since its launch in February. We’ve highlighted Community Transport as a vital part of the solution to isolation among older people, and got our MSPs and Scottish Ministers talking about it.

We’ve called for a more strategic approach to the future development of Community Transport – and the Scottish Government has commissioned research which should inform this. But there’s more to be done.

We’re yet to be convinced that the future of Community Transport is secure, as the Scottish Government has declined our proposal that it be included within, and part funded by, the National Concessionary Travel scheme. Age Scotland believes that the onus is now on the Government to put forward viable alternative proposals to ensure Community Transport services can meet increasing demand as our population ages.

A huge thanks to all the individuals, organisations and MSPs who have supported us up to this point, we will be entering 2014 still attempting to end isolation for older people.

You can still sending a Still Waiting campaign e-message to your MSPs today.

Take a look at our scrapbook and take a look back at all the peope we ve met and places we have been over the last year

Read the News Story

The bill to ban pavement parking is back

Inconsiderate parking stops us getting around our streets – but it’s not always unintentional says Lindsay Scott.

Pavement parking

Pavement parking

Imagine you’re on your mobility scooter, travelling the 500 metres or so to the nearest bus stop so that you can get the one bus for the next few hours that can accommodate your scooter and get you to the town centre where you need to do some urgent shopping.
You turn the corner and find a car parked right across the pavement leaving just enough room for a pedestrian to get by, and the kerb is too high and the road too busy for you to successfully negotiate your way round it. You miss the bus as a result.

That could be termed inconsiderate parking – but sometimes it’s more insidious than that.
Imagine you’ve got to your bus stop, which happens to have an ATM nearby. A large 4X4 pulls into the bus stop and the driver gets out and walks to the ATM just as your bus is about to arrive. You point out the signs saying Bus Stop and No Parking under any Circumstances but are ignored. You miss the bus as a result.

You approach the driver and politely ask why the blatantly ignored the signs prohibiting parking in the bus stop and are rebuffed by an “I’ll decide under what circumstances and where I park my vehicle.”

This sort of behaviour, accidental or deliberate, does not just force pedestrians onto the road and into the path of vehicles. It erects a major barrier for people with visual or mobility impairments, wheelchair or mobility scooter users, families with pushchairs and cyclists. It can also damage the pavement, creating additional costly obstacles.

It would seem to make sense that with an ageing, less mobile population, more cars on the road and less money for road and pavement maintenance, inconsiderate parking that blocks pavements, raised crossings, dropped kerbs and access to public transport is addressed as a matter of urgency, because it is clear that the current situation, in which we rely on police enforcement, isn’t working.

That’s why Age Scotland has teamed up with a host of other, concerned organisations including Barnardo’s Scotland, Capability Scotland, Guide Dogs Scotland, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, Quarriers, Ramblers Scotland and RNIB Scotland to push for Scottish legislation that enables local authorities to take action against inconsiderate parking.

Sandra White MSP is taking forward a Scottish Parliament Members’ Bill in this regard aimed at ensuring that everyone can get round our communities safely and easily. It was launched at the Parliament last December. After decades of inaction, Age Scotland and its partners want to see effective legislation on responsible parking delivered now.

Lindsay Scott is Age Scotland Communication and Campaigns Manager