A motion brought before a recent Special Meeting of Council received unanimous cross-party support to establish the role and appoint an Elected Member at the earliest opportunity.
The Champion will act as a link between the Council and older people across the Stirling area and ensure their needs, concerns and challenges are considered in the design and delivery of services as well as supporting wellbeing activities for this demographic.
A key part of the role will be bringing together older and younger people to address issues affecting them and their communities, promoting greater communication, understanding and respect between the generations.
Stirling’s population of those aged 75 and over is projected to increase by 74% by 2043.
Ensure their voices are heard
Cllr Watterson said: “I’m proud to be appointed as Stirling’s first-ever Older People’s Champion and look forward to working with older people in all our communities to to help them live healthy, fulfilling lives.
“With Stirling’s aging population, it’s more important than ever that the views of the area’s older people are represented so they can continue to play a full and active role in our communities.
“One of the best ways we can achieve this is through an intergenerational approach, encouraging our older and younger people to share their experiences and perspectives to find solutions for common challenges.
“I would like to thank my fellow Elected Members for appointing me to this role and I can’t wait to get started and making a real difference.”
Advice and guidance for the Champion will be provided by various organisations including Age Scotland, the Scottish Older People’s Assembly (SOPA).
Cllr Watterson will also participate in the network of Older People’s Champions across Scotland and engage with other key local and national organisations. There are 20 other local authorities in Scotland who have created the role.
Working across the generations
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Local authorities and our partner organisations provide a wide variety of key services and supports to older people across Stirling, so it makes absolute sense to have someone dedicated to representing their interests and needs by working across the generations.
“The widespread support for the motion across the Council Chamber shows how highly we all value our older people and I look forward to working with Cllr Watterson to improve the outcomes for our senior citizens.”
The motion was proposed Cllr Watterson and seconded by Cllr Martin Earl.
The work and activities of the Older People’s Champion will report to the Council’s Community Wellbeing and Housing Committee.
An amendment proposed by Cllr Susan McGill (seconded by Cllr Brian Hambly) to create a Lifecourse Champion will be considered at a future date.
The Older People’s Champion is one of a number of cross political champions in the Council, joining a list that includes the Armed Forces Champion and the White Ribbon Champion.