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Pensioners' group reforms in East End to give voice to the elderly

PUBLISHED: 16:56 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 05 October 2010

George Galloway meets pensioners' group

George Galloway meets pensioners' group

PENSIONERS are getting together to make themselves heard with the re-launch of a campaign group. MP George Galloway was quizzed by older folks during a question and answers session at the first meeting to kick-start the Eastend Pensioners Action Group.

PENSIONERS are getting together to make themselves heard with the re-launch of a campaign group.

MP George Galloway was quizzed by older folks during a question and answers session at the first meeting to kick-start the Eastend Pensioners Action Group.

Organisers of the gathering at St Hilda's East Community Centre in Bethnal Green said pensioner's voices are not being heard and that there has been no East End group to unite them. The campaign, once known as the Bethnal Green Pensioners Action Group, was set up under its new name about two years ago. But with some members passing away the group lost its momentum.

New people and original members have now come together for the re-launch. One of the main concerns raised at the meeting was that politicians are not taking enough notice of older people. The government was accused of neglecting pensioners in favour of children and young people.

Mr Galloway agreed with his audience. The Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow said that whilst he was in favour of supporting services for children and young people, not enough investment had been put into groups like this one.

Instead he said millions was spent on the nearby Rich Mix complex, which no one in the audience had heard about. He also blamed the government for pensioners living in poverty whilst city workers took home enormous bonuses.

Other issues raised by the audience included concerns over cuts to homecare, heating for the winter and crime.

A representative from Help the Aged gave a presentation about the charity's manifesto for creating better neighbourhoods and services.

Alix Fairbairn said rigorous assessments meant many do not get the services they are entitled to because older people were often reluctant to ask for help.

She suggested the group invite more speakers along who can offer advice to pensioners.

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