Norwich people with a zest for life

Are you older, but still active? Do you think you have got something to offer, whether it is helping to keep an eye on your neighbours, talking to someone who may be feeling lonely or helping out with somebody's shopping?

Then Age UK Norwich and Age UK Norfolk wants to hear from you.

Today sees the launch of a new campaign to celebrate age in later life.

With more and more of us living longer, the idea of what it means to be older is constantly changing, and just because the years may be advancing it does not mean that the zest for life and getting involved needs to fade away.

And that is why both charities want to find out what people are doing across Norwich and Norfolk to keep active and help others and are keen to hear your stories, which could then be featured in the campaign.

It need not be grand projects, although it could be, and it could just be something simple: the key is that it is important to you.

But the charity believes it is the people who are willing to help out every day who are the real celebrities and that is why they want to hear from you.

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Suzanne Handsley, head of corporate and individual giving at Age UK Norfolk, said: 'We want to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities that affect the lives of people in later life in Norfolk and to involve the whole community in supporting the campaign through volunteering, events and fundraising.

'The older population in Norfolk, already above the national average, is expected to continue to grow rapidly over the next 10 to 20 years. As charities promoting the well-being of people in later life, we want to do all that we can in these challenging times to ensure the availability of care and support and to ensure that older people and their carers know who and where they can turn to when they are in need of help and advice.

'Our campaign is very much about celebrating age. There are more and more older people in Norfolk with lots of experience and skills they can share, and lots of interesting stories to tell.

'What we are looking for is people who are happy to come along, have their photograph taken, or give us a quote. They may be volunteers, or still working, or part of a local club. What we are looking to do is celebrate the fact that we have got someone who is happy to get involved.

'They aren't necessarily people who have done great things; it might just be someone who is carrying on with their everyday life, but we want to hear about them.'

The charity has teamed up with second-year graphic design and graphic communication students at Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA), who have helped design the campaign leaflets and posters to support the campaign.

That also sparked another project to design a ballroom dance mural at Grays Fair Court in New Costessey, as recently highlighted in the Evening News.

This week, the Evening News will be looking in depth at some of the vital work carried out by Age UK Norwich across the city, whether it's the services such as financial advice they can offer, and the real people who receive them, whether it is finding a club or event you can take part in, how young and old are working together in some of our schools to cope with the loss of a loved one.

Phil Wells, chief executive of Age UK Norwich, said the aim was both to raise awareness of things happening and also the services and support the charity can offer.

'What we are also trying to do is work with other groups, individuals and organisations,' Mr Wells said. 'It's not so much about what we are doing, but how we can support other people.'

The project is also being backed by BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Helen McDermott, and comes as Age UK Norfolk looks at transforming the way its services are delivered out in the community.

'Life has really improved for me as I've got older with loads of new challenges,' she said. 'I'm thrilled to be involved with Age UK Norfolk and Age UK Norwich to support this important campaign.'

Alison Bertram, pictured, patron of the Later Life Campaign, said she was delighted to be taking part and urged as many people as possible to get involved.

'I'm really looking forward to meeting with and working alongside people in the Norfolk community to celebrate age and make a real difference to the lives of older people,' she said.

Tomorrow, find out about Age Uk Norfolk's community projects in Heartsease, Mile Cross and Bowthorpe.

Do you know someone who should be a later life celebrity? We want to hear from you. Contact reporter Shaun Lowthorpe on 01603 772471 or email