Agenda and draft minutes

Older People's Partnership - Wednesday, 17 December 2014 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Fourth Floor, Easthampstead House, Bracknell. View directions

Contact: Amanda Roden  01344 352253

Note No. Item


Minutes and Action Points from 17 September 2014 pdf icon PDF 84 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Older People’s Partnership held on 17 September 20144 were agreed as a correct record.


Matters Arising


It was clarified that the content of the Health Check Advice sessions provided for people over the age of 75 had been included in the report presented to the meeting.





Karen Ross, Chief Executive of Berkshire Relate, briefed the Group on Relate’s work in Berkshire. 


Berkshire Relate had 22 counsellors across Berkshire trained to provide guidance and advice on a range of relationship matters to children, adults and families.  Whilst the majority of those accessing Relate’s services came through self referral a number were referred to the service by external organisations for example by a GP.   Depending on a person’s flexibility it was usually possible to provide an initial counselling session within two or three weeks of first contacting Relate.  People can have couselling sessions for as long as they feel that it is needed however an appropriate solution was usually reached after approximately eight sessions.  Sessions were offered on Monday to Thursday all through the day and until lunchtime on Friday and Saturdays.  Counselling was charged at £60 a session however bursaries were available to those on low incomes.


Traditionally those seeking counselling tended to be in their income producing years however in recent years there had been a demographic shift with increasing numbers of retirees asking for help.  The main areas with which this group was seeking assistance with were:


  • Preparing for and coping with retirement
  • New roles at home when both partners are at homes
  • Bnew roles with childcare and the difficulties that might arise when trying to put boundaries in place
  • Concerns over downsizing or moving away from an area to be closer to relatives
  • Coping with less money
  • Refocusing aims in retirement
  • Becoming your partner’s carer


The only information that the counsellor received before hand was a person’s name, contact details, whether the person was attending alone or with a partner and if alone if the partner knew that counselling was being sought, income bracket (to ascertain whether finacial help with costs might be required) and ethnicity (for monitoring purposes).  The first counselling session was always an exploratory one that looked at what participants wished to get from the counselling sessions and the background to the matter causing concern before a decsions was made on whether to proceed with counselling proper.


If a matter came up that fell outside the Councsessor’s remit then people were signposted to more appropriate sources of advice for example debt advice services or organisations who dealt with alcohol, drug or gambling related problems.


It was agreed that leaflets detailing Relate’s service would be forwarded for circulation. (Action: Karen Ross/Kieth Naylor)


The Group thanked Karen Ross for her informative briefing.












Scoping out the Planning for Later Life Project


The Group was informed that Age Concern had gathered a good range of information in relation to the Later Life Project however there was a significant volume of work taking place in other areas and this would need to be addressed. 


Arising from the subsequent discussion, it was agreed that holding a conference would be an appropriate initial first step in progressing the Project and that Later Life could be the theme of the next biennial Older People’s Conference, which was expected to take place in 2015/16. The possibility of scheduling the conference to coincide with Older People’s Day in October would be considered. It was agreed that a series of workshops and information stands would be provided at the conference and it was suggested that the themes and concerns raised by older people accessing Relate’s services might provide a good starting point for discussions, talks and workshops.


It was suggested that the Open Learning Centre would provide the ideal location for a conference and that if held during the school holidays it might be possible to arrange to use the car park at neighbouring Brakenhale School for overflow parking. 

It was agreed that resourcing the event would need to be carefully considered and that the subject would be discussed in more detail at the Group’s next meeting.


The University of the Third Age had approached Bracknell Forest Council asking what its plans were following the recent cancellation of the Ascot Retirement Fair.  It was agreed that a short holding statement would be prepared and sent to the University. (Action: Kieth Naylor/Janet Berry)



I-Hub - Information Hub


 The Group received a presentation on the redesign of the Bracknell Forest iHub.  The iHub had been set up in 2010 in response to the introduction of the Personalisation Agenda to provide residents with a comprehensive online directory of services which could be used to help people develop their support plans in more creative ways.  


A similar resource was also available for Children and Families however following a change in legislation this had been redesigned to meet the new legislative requirements and the possibility of combining the two resources into a single comprehensive all age directory was being explored.


The Group was shown a series of pages from the proposed single site and arising from the subsequent questions and comments the following points were noted:


·         The use of Easy-Read would be essential for ease of access

·         The proposed new design felt very corporate

·         It was felt that naming the new site the Family Service Directory limited its scope

·         The search function on the current iHub site was not particularly good and this would need to be improved in any new site

·         Not having to got to an external website to find out more information about a service was considered a good move

·         There was currently no facility to do comparisons of services and this would be a useful feature

·         Being able to print of a list of selected services would be a useful feature

·         There needed to be an easily accessible way for people to make suggestions for services to be added or improvements


It was stressed that social isolation could affect anyone and the directory needed to have links to agencies and groups that could help support everyone for example community learning and voluntary sector groups.  Links to external organisations that gave advice on specific matters for example housing advice would be useful.  Having cross links to other services that whilst not being a direct service providers did provide a supporting service was also considered essential for example Public Health, housing services and the team supporting the Blue Badge scheme.


The Group was thanked for their input.






Older People's Day & Digital Inclusion Project


It was reported that the Older People’s Day had not been as comprehensive has would have been liked.  The planned launch of the Assistive Technology Scheme had been delayed due to staff changes and the Physical Activity Plan had become a social day aimed at bringing people together.


The Digital Inclusion Project survey had been successfully tested and was available should people wish to use it at events. A job description had been developed for a Digital Inclusion Officer to work on a part time basis for 10 hours a week on a pro-rata salary of approximately £24,000.  The post would be hosted by Age Concern.


Funding had been secured from Age Concern and Bracknell Forest Council to cover 100% of the IT capacity costs and 50% of the revenue costs for the project.  This left a funding gap of 50% which would need to be filled from sources elsewhere.  It was reported that Bracknell Forest Homes was undertaking work on digital inclusion and it was suggested that there might be some commonalities with this work and that additional support might be available.  It was agreed that the project’s initial funding bid would be forwarded for consideration.  (Action: Kieth Naylor/Linda Wells)


Thanks were expressed to Age Concern for their help with the development of bids for grant funding to support the project. 


Members Updates


  • Following an exercise to identify older tenants who had not been in contact with them for any length of time, Bracknell Forest Homes had recently carried out 172 targeted visits to identify those suffering from social isolation.  As a result of these visits a number of tenants were identified who needed information or advice on a range of matters including benefits and adaptations.  A number of socially isolated residents were identified and these have been invited to attend activities run by Bracknell Forest Homes.  Those known to be spending Christmas Day alone had been invited to a special lunch at one of the care centres.
  • Bracknell Forest Homes also identified twelve residents who were interested in accessing the Food Banks services and staff were putting together Christmas hampers for these people.  Age Concern had received a donation of a number of Christmas hampers and the contents of these would be made available to help enhance the items collected by Bracknell Forest Homes staff. (Action: Linda Wells/ Tracey Hedgcox)
  •  The construction of Clement House was expected to be completed by the end of February 2015.  Work to decommission Barnet Court and relocate the residents into Clement House would start in early 2015.  There had been a great deal of interest in the flats available for outright sale.
  • Reorganisation of the east Berkshire Citizens’ Advice Bureaux was underway.  A move which it was hoped would help secure additional funding for the organisation.  Nationally the way that people were able to access advice was being restructured so that more information was available online and via a national telephone helpline
  • The Community Learning Team had published its spring programme.  There had been a good take up of the Digital Inclusion Course and the open sessions on Fridays had been remodelled so that people could bring in their own devices and ask for advice.  Take up of arts and crafts courses had been disappointing and a number had been cancelled as a result.
  • Funding had been secured from Reading Borough Council to enable the Community Learning Team to carry out a piece of work exploring the barriers to employment experienced by those who were 50+.  Input from partners would be sought in due course
  • Although there was funding for a range of health and social care related courses including dementia awareness and fall prevention there was limited capacity within the Community Learning Team to deliver these courses.  It was acknowledged that a number of agencies ran similar courses and that work needed to take place to ensure that there was not duplication
  • The Adult Social Care Team was working with hospitals to enhance the offer they gave hospitals during the winter.  Funding had been secured to enable the provision of Grab Bags of useful items including personal alarms to patients being discharged from hospital. Funding had also been made available to enable Forest Care to carry out telephone checks on residents who were known to be socially isolated.  The names of any resident who might  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Future Meetings

Future meetings of the Older People’s Partnership will be held at 10am in the Council Chamber at Easthampstead House:


Wednesday 18 March 2015

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Wednesday 16 December 2015


It was noted that future meetings of the Older People’s Partnership would take place at 10am on the following dates:


Wednesday 17 June 2015

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Wednesday 16 December 2015