Paying bills is our main worry, say Sheffield’s over 50-year-olds

Helen Jackson

Helen Jackson

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Sheffield’s over-50s worry more about paying their bills than they do about poverty, loneliness or crime, reveals a report out today (Thursday).

The city’s biggest-ever survey of older people shows that the rising cost of gas, electricity and water is top of the worry list for 80% – way ahead of any other concern.

It also reveals that while most are happy with their neighbourhood, an overwhelming 73% feel they have little or no influence in local decision making.

Now lobbying group Sheffield 50+, which conducted the survey, has pledged to step up its campaign to make the voice of older people heard.

“Sheffield 50+ is one of the voice and influence organisations supported by the city council, yet clearly our members feel we have no influence. This is a salient finding for us,” says the report.

And key member Helen Jackson, 74-year-old former MP for Hillsborough, says: “The survey shows how aware the over-50s are of the harsh financial climate… Sheffield 50+ aims to give these concerns a louder voice.”

The 39-question survey, which attracted 650 responses from members across Sheffield, will influence the group’s priorities over the next few years. It will also inform other bodies citywide and Ms Jackson aims to refer to it as part of a national commission on older people.

The research covers issues including quality of life, problems, attitudes and experiences.

“This is a good number of responses for a survey like this – and a large proportion come from people in the poorer wards,” says Ms Jackson.

“On the whole they’re a satisfied lot and they’re very loyal to their neighbourhood.

“Now we’re going to try and give them a louder voice.”