Go grey and support campaign

Campaigners Sally Ringwood (left) and Sandra Belcher with their petition, signed by Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, calling on the government to introduce a minister for older people.

Campaigners Sally Ringwood (left) and Sandra Belcher with their petition, signed by Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, calling on the government to introduce a minister for older people.

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A RESIDENT and worker at a sheltered housing complex are preparing to travel to Downing Street to hand over a petition to have elderly people’s voices heard in Parliament.

Sandra Belcher, 57, who works at Linton Court, in Wiltshire Way, Hartlepool, and tenant Sally Ringwood, 58, have been on a tireless mission to get as many signatures as possible to support a campaign calling for a Government Minister for Older People.

Their efforts are in support of the Grey Pride national campaign by Anchor - a not-for-profit organisation which provides housing and support for the elderly countrywide.

Together, and with help from other members of staff, family and friends, they have managed to get 1,893 signatures backing the petition.

Sandra said a total of almost 5,000 names have been collected from other Anchor facilities in Hartlepool, which will be added to the national total which currently stands at 120,000.

And due to their outstanding efforts, the Hartlepool pair have been chosen by Anchor to go to Downing Street, in London, on November 28, with other representatives of the company, to hand over the huge list.

Sandra, a mum-of-four with 11 grandchildren and four step-grandchildren, said: “We’ve been doing this since May and we’re very enthusiastic about it. It’s something we feel strongly about because at the minute there is no-one to represent the older person and the issues that affect them like money and care.

“Someone should be there to give them a voice and hopefully with this petition the Government will listen and provide somebody for this age group.”

She added: “We’re very proud of the amount of signatures we’ve managed to get and we’re happy that so many people are in support of this. We’re also very excited to be going to Downing Street as well, it’s not often you hear of people from Hartlepool going down there.

“We’d urge anyone else who would like to sign to get in touch with their nearest Anchor project, or log on to the website.”

Sandra says the hoped-for minister would be called upon when the Cabinet discusses issues that directly affect the elderly, such as local authority cuts, funding for care, pension reform, freezing of the winter fuel allowance, closure of rural post offices and libraries.

The petition can be signed online by logging on to www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk and selecting the link.