It was announced in the autumn that community groups in Norwich will receive £4.5million from the Big Lottery Fund, to help improve the lives of older people living in the city. The first consultation with local residents and community leaders took place in Bowthorpe to find out what Norwich already has to offer. I went along and spoke to voluntary organisations, private companies and local residents about what they want to see in the area.
Local residents were asked to map and describe the local services that are already active in the west of the city. Organised by the Getting On in Norwich partnership, the project aims to tackle isolation and loneliness faced by older residents through the creation of community hubs and facilities.
Joyce Hopwood, Chair of the Getting On in Norwich Partnership and the Norwich Older People’s Forum, said: “ It's important that as many people as possible come out and engage with the consultations so that we get as true a voice for Bowthorpe as we can, and enable residents to be at the heart of every decision."
The event was a real eye opener for me. I now know that Bowthorpe does not have a dentist, library or according to some, even a hairdresser. These are basic community amenities and ones those who struggle to travel, miss dearly. I’m hopeful the final investments will have both good uptake and be self-sustaining in the long run.
Involving people in the decisions that will shape their lives, is an empowering approach and those behind the bid should be praised for.
More consultations will happen across the city in the coming months. The next Norwich Older People’s Forum – neighbourhood meeting takes place on Tuesday 10th March 2015 at West Earlham Community Centre, Wilberforce Road, 10am – 2.30pm.