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Update from BOPF Chair

I hope you are all keeping well, and I suspect most of us have had our Covid jab by now. Some of you will probably have had the booster as well, or it won’t be far away. I do very strongly urge anyone who has not yet had the vaccine to pop along to have it, so we can all protect ourselves and others.

As we start to emerge from the winter therefore, things are certainly starting to look a lot better, although I know we all have to continue to be cautious and safe. I wonder how history will judge the pandemic, in particular how we handled it? I have no doubt that one of the positives will be the speed with which scientists across the world developed a vaccine.

As ever, there has been a great deal going on at Bristol Older People’s Forum. We had another really well attended virtual Open Forum meeting on 25th February, with almost 80 people there at one point. For those who couldn’t make it, our speakers were Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, and Verity McLelland from Diabetes UK. Both covered some really key topics, which generated numerous questions. We also had a session to stimulate ideas on the new Meet Up Mornings, which will be virtual informal social events, over a cup of coffee, tea, or any drink of your choosing. A number of BOPF Trustees and Members will host them – if you are interested in being a host, please do contact Ian Quaife, bopf@ageukbristol.org.uk.

Please do make a note in your diary that the next Open Forum is on Thursday 29th April at 10.30am, when, amongst other things, we will have speakers talking about a fantastic and very inclusive new Walking App, and about Liveable Neighbourhoods which particularly promote cleaner air, walking, safer pavements, and cycling.

What else has been happening? I hope you have been enjoying the regular Newsletters that we have been sending out in partnership with Bristol City Council. The next one is due out in May. If you have any ideas for articles or information that you think would be useful for future editions, please do let us know. We continue to deliver Challenging Ageism Workshops – if you haven’t yet attended one, I would recommend them as they are quite an eye opener! We also continue to focus on research which we use in a very practical way to influence decision-makers. The Housing Survey and Carers Survey are two good examples of this.

As I have said on previous occasions, the strength of BOPF is our membership of 3000 older people in the city. Any ideas, comments or contributions that you have are always welcome.

Best wishes.

Ian Bickerton

Chair, BOPF

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