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Norwich's Hilda, 81, urges older people to vote

PUBLISHED: 14:58 11 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:36 02 July 2010

Hilda Bullen is vocal in her protest

Hilda Bullen is vocal in her protest

Sarah Hall

Older voters in Norwich were today urged to use their political clout to demand that general election candidates from all parties deliver a fairer deal for the city's elderly people.

Older voters in Norwich were today urged to use their political clout to demand that general election candidates from all parties deliver a fairer deal for the city's elderly people.

New research has revealed that older voters will be more influential than ever in the race for Number 10, and the chief executive of Age Concern Norwich says that means the parties must tackle the issues which matter to the elderly.

The charity has organised two hustings in the city which the candidates battling it out to become the next MPs for Norwich North and Norwich South have been invited to attend.

Meanwhile, Hilda Bullen, 81, of Wodehouse Street, Norwich, who has campaigned to help save the city's Silver Rooms day centre, added her backing to get elderly people to vote.

She said: “I have only really taken an interest in voting in recent years, as my husband used to do it all, but it's very important for old and young people to vote.

“We need to find out what each candidate is saying and what their policies are, so we can make a decision on who to vote for.

“I'm taking a lot of time to think about it and I would urge other older people to do so as well, so we can get a better deal for elderly people in the city.”

In Norwich 40pc of voters are aged 50 or over and Age Concern Norwich hopes its 'Our power is our number' campaign will send a message to the political parties that they need to listen to the older generations.

Phil Wells, chief executive of the charity, said: “For older people, the number one fear is isolation in later life, for too many people, reductions in income combined with declining mobility and worries about getting out and about means being increasingly isolated.

“Not only is this bad in itself, but it means people cannot get timely help when things go wrong and they end up needing much more costly care.

“At a time when opportunities for older people to mix and meet are under threat as never before, and when the main parties have failed to agree even how to fund social care it is more important than ever for older people to hold our next batch of MPs to account.”

Age Concern Norwich is calling for all the parties to commit to five key election pledges:

Reforming the failing social care system

Ending pensioner poverty

Outlawing ageism

Improving the NHS and public services

Enabling older people to play a greater role in society

Age Concern Norwich has invited the candidates from all the main parties to meet older people and talk and listen about the issues of importance.

For Norwich North, they will be meeting at St Luke's Church in Aylsham Road on Friday, April 16 at 10.30am.

The Norwich South hustings will be at the Vauxhall Centre in Vauxhall Street at 10.30am Friday, April 23.

This activity is part of a national campaign being run by newly-launched Age UK, the new force combining Age Concern England and Help the Aged, which involves hundreds of local Age Concerns across the country harnessing the strength of older voters.

Which issues do you think matter to older people in this year's election? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

Visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/election for a wealth of statistics, facts, features and news about the election campaign.

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