Bridging the gap

PUBLISHED: 01:01 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:55 10 June 2010

OVER 50s now have the chance to influence council policy following yesterday's inaugural meeting of Devon's Senior Council. After a year in the making, the two members for Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, former town councillor Ron Roberts, of Littleham, a

OVER 50s now have the chance to influence council policy following yesterday's inaugural meeting of Devon's Senior Council.After a year in the making, the two members for Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, former town councillor Ron Roberts, of Littleham, and Bill Jordan, of Yettington, got the chance to represent their constituents at the meeting in the ISCA Centre, Exeter.Groups now exist in 26 of Devon's 29 towns; and with up to two members from each group, it forms the 60-member strong Senior Council Assembly.At the meeting the 10 directors, the chairman and other officers were inaugurated while Cllr Sally Morgan, the county's member for social affairs and health, and Sally Foxhall, of the Primary Care Trust, addressed the assembly.Both bodies have pledged money for three years to get it up and running.The council is self-governing, non-political and fully independent and will influence and lobby to provide better local services like transport and health.Other issues include discrimination, pensions, and availability of and access to practical services.Exmouth's Joy Robinson was one of the first to sign up to the Senior Council and said that part of her motivation was to bridge the gap between young people and those over 50.She said: "A lot of older people won't go out at night because they have a fear of young people. At the same time some young people resent older people like me because they think we are all well off while they have little money."Of course that's not true, but we have to develop more contact and a better understanding between the two age groups and the Senior Council can help to do this."The county council's champion for older people, Exmouth's Cllr Eileen Wragg, said: "Devon has a large population of people over 50, but that figure is rising significantly as people are living longer."We're holding public meetings across the county and inviting everyone with an interest to come along to find out how a Senior Council can help achieve improvements for them in their community.

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