Two representatives from the Middlesbrough Senior Citizens Forum delivered their regular update. The next event for senior citizens would be held at Ladgate Lane with the Police and Crime Commissioner and a further event would take place in February 2014.
Negotiations were still on-going with Ayresome Industries regarding the provision of a handyman service. The representatives were receiving a lot of calls and mail from residents with concerns over the increased costs of the current handyman scheme being delivered by RVS. The Senior Citizens Forum hoped to come up with a scheme that matched the current scheme in quality but at a more reasonable price.
The Christmas concert that would usually be held in November would now be held in April. It would now become an Easter concert. This would be the fourteenth year it had been held.
Reference was made to a report produced by the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel in relation to Child Poverty, Deprivation and Attainment that had recently been presented to Middlesbrough Councils Executive. Concern was expressed at the content of the report which stated that Middlesbrough was the third most deprived Local Authority area in the UK with an average child poverty rate of 37%. The Senior Citizens Forum representative urged Middlesbrough Councillors to address the issue as a matter of urgency.
The Chair of the Scrutiny Panel stated that Middlesbrough Council was aware that there had been an increase in child poverty in Middlesbrough since 2010 and was actively working to address the issues. The Scrutiny Panel had identified that children in Middlesbrough were not reaching their full potential and falling behind their peers nationally. Early intervention measures to help parents with their parenting skills and ensure their children received the best start in life were in place.
In East Middlesbrough, where child poverty was particularly acute, there was also high unemployment. However, it was highlighted that not all families who were in poverty were unemployed. Due to the current economic climate some families had very little disposable income, despite being in work.
An update was provided on the last two meetings of the Years Ahead Board that had taken place in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool. It was reported that there was a vacancy for the Chair of the Board.
The annual Years Ahead North East Forum on Ageing had also taken place recently and there had been several main speakers. Mick Ward, Lead Officer on the Age Friendly City had spoken about progress made by the City of Leeds to support people with dementia and care issues. Cynthia Bartley, a Director of Age Inclusive Limited, had spoken about disillusionment on Teesside and stated that there were job vacancies that no-one wanted to fill. The representative of the Senior Citizens Forum was trying to arrange an interview on Radio Tees to invite Cynthia Bartley to explain her views fully. Alice Thwaite, Director of Equal Arts, from Gateshead had spoken about promoting art projects in community centres and local hubs. The representative of the Forum commented that she did not feel some of the messages given at the conference in relation to Teesside were a wholly accurate picture of the area.
RECOMMENDED That the information be received and noted