The year 2020 has been focussed almost solely on the Pandemic. It has been a task in itself to make contact with our members, locked down and in some cases traumatised, lonely and desperate, whilst we continue to represent older people’s issues effectively and campaigning as appropriate.
Our problems, shared of course by many organisations, have been exacerbated because many of our members are not IT proficient and, in many cases, have not the inclination or the disposable income necessary to buy a computer. So, I am pleased to be able to tell you that as an organisation we have established ongoing and effective links to most of our membership. We are also investigating how we can support those without broadband or IT equipment to be included.
In addition, the Pandemic has made much of the work that we do more difficult as government and other essential service providers have staff shortages and staff working from home. Despite this, even during the periods of rigid lockdown and the subsequent months, we have continued to work for the benefit of pensioners – today and in the future – to ensure dignity in retirement.
We have continued to campaign for the Government to reinstate and fully fund the over 75’s TV licence, combining virtual meetings with the occasional, suitably distanced, public demonstration to reinforce the importance of inclusion in society the TV provides for our older and most vulnerable citizens. This campaign resulted in a meeting with BBC Director General Tim Davie. Further meetings are to be arranged to widen the issue and focus on the growing pensioner poverty and other key issues for older people.
In addition, we have released our ground-breaking Health and Social Care Working Party report. ‘Goodbye Cinderella’, which calls for a National Care Service, working alongside the NHS, which will be high-quality, fully funded, and free at the point of need for all, with the service user at its heart.
Furthermore, due to the crisis, it has never been more urgently needed for public information to be made available and to be got out to those confused, elderly and vulnerable people – some forbidden to leave home, others frightened to leave home. So, I am delighted to tell you we have also launched our totally new website: www.npcuk.org with easy to navigate web pages outlining NPC aims and campaigns, reports, publications, research and members’ news, with improved links to social media.
All of these activities have to be set against the year-long campaign to raise awareness of Covid issues impacting on care home residents & staff during lockdown, lack of PPE and Covid testing; elderly patients discharged from hospitals to care homes without testing; DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate signs) issued without consultation; loneliness & neglect suffered by shielders and fears over 2nd vaccine delay.
As we adjusted to the new circumstances of the lockdown, the restricted social arena, I am pleased to say we have adapted many of our meetings to Zoom and have in addition held two successful webinars. One on “Ageism, Human Rights & Hate Crime in the UK” and another on the Care Crisis Summit: the latter covering “Goodbye Cinderella – A New Settlement for Care Services “. A third webinar, in February 2021, on “Connections for All” launches a campaign for digital inclusion for older people, as recommended by the NPC Digital Working Party report.
It has been possible to get good media coverage on all the above issues, including interviews on BBC Breakfast, BBC local radio, Talk Radio, local and national press – including The Times, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Morning Star amongst others.
Much of the work of the NPC is achieved through its Working Parties, each covering a specialist subject, each drawing from the knowledge and experience they bring after a lifetime of working. Because of this inbuilt knowledge we have been able to respond to the many requests for consultative opinion received from Government and Select Committees, including:
· Digital Democracy
· The Law Commission hate crime consultation
· Accessible Homes consultation
· Retail Prices Index (RPI) methodology
· Future of Transport
· Consultation on decriminalising TV licence evasion
· NHS England Integrated Care Services
NPC has a small hard working staff team dedicated to supporting and informing our members and NPC benefits from the generosity of a number of affiliates who provide support. However, NPC is above all an organisation of members who provide their time free, giving their knowledge and experience to assist the causes and concerns that older people face.
Financial Summary - Income and Expenditure 2020 (all figures to the nearest £100) Opening Balance £81,900 Total Income £106,600
Total expenditure £110,700 Deficit £4,100 Closing Balance £77,800 This summary is taken from the accounts scheduled to be approved at the National Council meeting in April 2021, following an audit/examination. A full set of accounts, including the report of the independent examiners, can be obtained from NPC Head Office, once they have been approved. The financial results for 2020 were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. For considerable periods during the year the NPC office was closed and staff were furloughed, leading to a one-off reduction in rent and other office costs but a modest grant for government furlough payments was received. The final result for the year was a modest deficit when compared to the original budgeted deficit for 2020 of £23,000 and a similar deficit is forecast for 2021. The total income includes £19,000 in donations, £50,700 in affiliation fees and a £30,000 Age UK grant.
You can download the Annual Review below