I think it’s fair to say that when the first blog about ageing without children was published back in March, no one thought we’d come so far so quickly! The fact we have just shows how much ageing without children has struck a chord with people.
2014 has been a really exciting year. We’ve been featured twice in The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/social-life-blog/2014/apr/25/ageing-without-children-family-care and http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/12/ageing-without-children (the second article has pretty robust below the line discussion), been on Women’s Hour http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p025vnt4 and the Wireless (Age UK’s radio station) https://www.dropbox.com/s/8nduqfjpr09c2bh/Agenda%20TX101214%20Part%204%20%281%29.mp3?dl=0,
created the AWOC website http://www.awoc.org, twitter feed and facebook group and of course organised the very first mainstream Ageing without Children conference on 26th January 2015 which is very nearly sold out. In addition, BBC Breakfast will be filming Jody Day and myself on 5th January as part of a series on ageing.
The question now for us of course is, what next? The Beth Johnson Foundation have kindly agreed to host AWOC on an interim basis while we work out our future plans. As yet we are not a formal organisation and we have no income; everything relies on work carried out by myself, Jody, Mervyn and Robin on a voluntary basis.
The International Longevity Centre have expressed a wish to work with us on one of our 4 aims by helping to research more about the demographics of people ageing without children. We also know from feedback we’ve had from people ageing without children that they would like more space to talk about solutions and how to make plans for the future. We’ve heard from organisations who’d like to know more about Ageing without children and what they could do to help. In addition, we want to get policy makers and politicians to think about people ageing without children when they discuss the ageing population and not make assumptions about family support and what help people get.
All of this will take some time and will need money: working on getting some funding is definitely a priority for 2015! The Conference will form a big part of our future plans as we ask people ageing without children and organisations working with older people what should we all be doing to prepare for a society where more people will enter later life without children. We’ll be asking for your views in other ways if you’re not able to make the Conference so watch this space!
To everyone who has contacted us to share their thoughts and feelings thank you! It is a personal issue for me and others involved in AWOC, and the kind words and deeds of others has really helped.
Enormous thanks go particularly to my AWOC cofounders Mervyn Eastman, Robin Hadley and Jody Day without whom many of the things we’ve achieved would simply not have been possible. Special thanks also to Beth Johnson Foundation and Positive Ageing in London for all their support.
We have achieved so much in such a short space of time with very little resources; I’m sure 2015 can only bring more good things and ensure that the issue of people Ageing Without Children remains in the forefront of discussions about ageing and the kind of society we want to be.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year
Co Founder AWOC