DCSIMG

Dwindling numbers are a threat to future of Havant campaigning group

(l-r) manager Jan Gough, Elizabeth Pennycook, Susan Walker, Brandon Taylor, Jackie Bampton, Annette Steadman, Chris Moreton and Pete Walden. 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (112262-1668)

(l-r) manager Jan Gough, Elizabeth Pennycook, Susan Walker, Brandon Taylor, Jackie Bampton, Annette Steadman, Chris Moreton and Pete Walden. Picture: Malcolm Wells (112262-1668)

THERE are fears a pressure group for older people could fold unless more members join up.

The Havant Fifty-Plus Forum has fought many battles over the years on behalf of older people and on the wider issues affecting in the town.

It was at the forefront of the bid to save the rare Royal Doulton nursery tiles in the former Havant War Memorial Hospital.

And it acted quickly when the Havant War Memorial was at risk of being moved a few years ago.

But because of death and illness, the group’s numbers have dwindled to around a dozen members from a high point of more than 100.

Jackie Bampton, of Mitchell Road, Bedhampton, said it will be a big loss to Havant if it does close.

‘We have lost an awful lot of members because they have passed on, they’re in nursing homes or they’re ill.

‘It’s now becoming a huge issue. How can we carry on without more members?

‘At our last meeting there were about 10 people in the audience. Don’t people care about what is happening in their borough?

‘They have a right to challenge and we work as a group to hold people to account on behalf of older people in Havant.

‘It carries a lot more weight if we act together.’

The group meets on the first Monday of every month at the Masonic Hall in Waterloo Road in the town centre.

Pete Walden, 84, has been the chairman for the past 11 years.

He said: ‘It was set up in 2002 by the older people in Havant and we had the support of the council – even though at times we’ve been a thorn in their side if we think something’s not right.

‘We can take up someone’s cause if they need help.

‘The group is a great way of making friends and standing up for what we believe in.

‘We are a pressure group for the over-50s but we are happy to welcome younger people.

‘It will be a real shame if we have to close.’

In order to continue the group also needs a secretary to take minutes and send out letters.

Expenses will be paid.

Mr Walden added: ‘If there is anyone out there who cares about the future development of services and amenities provided for older people within Havant, or if you have any matters that you would like to be brought to our attention, please feel welcome to attend the next meeting or contact us.

‘It is very important that we keep the Fifty-Plus Forum going.’

The next meeting is at 1.30pm on Monday, September 1.

For more information, contact Mr Walden on (023) 9245 5552.

 

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