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Don't treat the elderly as victims, but as enablers: Southwark Circle

In South London, England, Southwark Circle members get together to enjoy a variety of interests and activities, and to learn new things through the Member Calendar. They can also buy tokens to get help from local, reliable Neighbourhood Helpers. Some members also help out fellow members and can earn tokens for doing so.

Photo of Nathan Waterhouse
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The Need:
Elderly are a huge cost to the government.people with “low to moderate” needs have been deprioritised. This is uneconomical because they are shut off and deteriorate faster. Southwark Circle in South London, England takes a different approach, it’s all about empowerment.


Designed by the consultancy 'Participle', the team found in their research that Pensioners dislike being talked down to about their “needs” - most also feel that they have something to give. Southwark Circle helps them to help each other, and to pay each other small amounts of money for doing so.

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Photo of Jackson

In the Asian context, the elderly was respected. By this the modern society, this concept is largely ignored by the younger generations - thus they think the elderly is more of an liability, a burden to "get rid of". Although we acknowledge that the modern society is a "greying one" [the younger couple not producing enough babies], I think we must realise that we ourselves are not getting any younger and we ourselves are in fact aging and one day (20 years later) will be like the man in the photo (wearing a button to "give ourselves an identity and having to fit in the "modern society" 20 years then". Give ourselves and our children a thought.

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