Profiles of Future East Representatives

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Michael Bond B.Sc., FCIS  Age Concern (East)  Michael is a Chartered Secretary who has worked in the civil service, local government, local charities and as a consultant. Has been involved with Future East since its inception. Is a trustee of Age UK Cambridgeshire and some local charities in Cambridge. He has a particular interest in community development and is currently involved in three local projects of particular benefit to older people in Cambridge: the refurbishment of the Cherry Trees Club for Older People to widen its use; an extension to St Andrew’s Hall in Chesterton to provide a drop in facility; and the proposed redevelopment of Milton Road Library as a community hub.

Gerry Calder, Thurrrock and Chair of Future East  A founder member the Thurrock Over Fifties Forum (TOFF) and its present Chair.   Following forced retirement through the onset of heart disease in 2000 this  episode brought a rapid realisation that ageism was evident in the service provision that affected the lives of all older people. To address inequality and ageism in all its forms he began working with TOFF and other AGE organisations.  He believes that being a critical friend and working through participation, , engagement and in partnership with the statuary authorities works best.   ’Better in the tent talking, than rattling the sword outside.’ Using the strapline  ‘Nothing about us, without us’,  Gerry campaigns locally, regionally and nationally towards ‘Strengthening the voice of Older People’.  Gerry can be contacted on 01375 412324.

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Ruth Featherstone, Central Bedfordshire  Ruth is the Chair of  the Older Peoples Reference Group for Central Bedfordshire.  They have survived through the splitting of Bedfordshire County Council into two unitary authorities and have led a charmed life in times of budget reductions and cost saving so they must be a valuable resource and be doing something right having worked hard to help shape services and be a voice for older people that is known and respected. Ruth has always held the view that there is no point in whinging about things that are not right or could be better without going further and offering solutions and this has been successful. Although the group cannot campaign they are adept at challenging and are mindful of this distinction between campaigning and challenging and this applies equally to Future East.
Although retired Ruth is no less busy and is as committed as ever to working hard to making a difference in people’s lives. Ruth’s background includes working as a lawyer for the Greater London Council and in private practice for Westminster solicitors specialising in Parliamentary law and practice. Ruth loves talking to people and understanding how things work and looking for solutions. She likes a quick win but also has medium and long term goals in mind not for the issues that face older people and likes nothing more than being in a room with like minded people intent on co-production, drawing on a variety of sources and skills, so older people may have a better quality of life and be heard loud and clear.  Ruth is on the Age Action Alliance Public Health and Active Lifestyles Working Group representing Future East.

Fiona Rolfe (BA hons.  Dip. Management) Future East Deputy Chair  Based in Hertfordshire,  Fiona works as a Local Authority Community Development Officer, specialising in older people’s services and has been involved with Future East for three years.  She has a life-long passion for equality and diversity and has spent many years helping and developing services with hard to reach groups, the voluntary sector and local communities. Fiona facilitates the Older People’s Network in Stevenage and produces ‘Living in Well in Later Life’ a guide to older people’s services and support in her area.

Fiona has 23 years, experience of working in the health and social care field, both front line and in management roles.  She has a clear understanding of the day to day needs of older people and the services required to meet individual and community issues. She plays an active role in local consultation, hearing the voice of older people and getting people engaged in local decision making.  Her background includes managing a regional fund and a significant number of multi-agency partnership projects.