This afternoon we hosted our first-ever Older People's Fair at Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch, to bring together a huge range of support groups from across Havering. The fair was incredibly well-supported by the community and we are very grateful to Queen's for hosting, for all those stallholders and residents who joined us for the afternoon and to the local choir who entertained visitors with their repertoire of show tunes. We hope now to make this an annual event.
The Fair was designed to assist older people within the community, those caring for an elderly friend or relative and those preparing to retire to meet and engage with key public services and organisations that may be helpful to them. Havering has the highest proportion of over-65s of any London borough and we have a huge array of organisations that do tremendous work to ensure that our older years can be just as fulfilling as our younger years. However, many people are not aware of the breadth of services available locally, so we wanted to bring everyone together in one place to make it easier for residents to access support. The fair was aimed at older people but was free and open to everyone, particularly those who might be supporting a friend or relative.
There was a wide variety of exhibitors at the event covering a broad range of needs, from NHS representatives to care organisations including Radfield Care Home, Tapestry and Age UK, as well as Havering Council’s Adult Social Services team.
With many Havering residents looking to keep active and involved later in life, representatives from the local Women’s Institute, Upminster Golf Club, the Over-50s Forum, Havering Arts Council and the Library Service were also on hand to talk about opportunities to meet new people and discover new interests. The Havering Volunteer Centre was on site to discuss how people can donate some of their spare time in retirement to local good causes.
We were also joined by local solicitors firm, Pinney Talfourd, and financial services firm, Allan Reece, as well as representatives from Barclays Bank who advised against scamming and fraud. Residents who require the assistance and support of an advocacy group spoke to Peabody Trust, while officers from the local Job Centre were on hand to help those keen to take up work or access benefits later in life.
Transport for London attended to advise of the range of ways they can support accessible travel for those with reduced mobility and the Police and Fire Brigade talked about their work in keeping the community safe.
Finally, event hosts, The Queen’s Theatre, discussed their work in the community and shared their exciting programme of forthcoming plays, musicals and cultural events.
My team and I had a stall of our own at this event and really enjoyed speaking to residents. We are grateful for the support we received for our petition to get step-free access at stations in our constituency.