Older People's Reference Group

Jim Harding

What were your involvements before NDA?

Jim Harding

Prior to retirement in 1996, I worked for a Railway Construction Company. I carried on as a Consultant for a further 5 years prior to my final retirement at the age of 65 in 2001.

My interest in trying to improve the lives of our older community locally started in 2002. I supported Help the Aged on regional and national campaigns, enjoying the challenge and meetings with MPs and Government Ministers in Parliament in support of the Age Equality Bill and other issues.

I also became a member of the NorthLinKs Seniors Forum Group and campaigned for more Seniors Forum Groups in North Lincolnshire. Along with a colleague, I started up the Winterton Senior Citizens Forum in October 2007, becoming Chairman in November 2009.

I also became a member of Who Cares? Executive Committee dealing with the Health and Social Care Involvement Network for North Lincolnshire, hosted by Voluntary Action North Lincolnshire. I am a member of the Scunthorpe Lions Club International raising money for individuals and groups locally and overseas.

Why did you join the OPRG?

My name was put forward by Amy Swan of Help the Aged and I was invited as a volunteer to take part in the NDA OPRG and attended the first meeting on the 2nd October 2007 at the Novartis Foundation in London.

What has been the most rewarding part of being a member of the OPRG?

Having the opportunity and privilege to become a member of the NDA Programme Older Peoples Reference Group, this vehicle has allowed me to meet up with some wonderful and knowledgeable people on the OPRG coupled with the opportunity of attending and contributing to the research project meetings. Attending the meetings in many great historical and wonderful buildings around the UK, debating with university professors, graduates and other people and touching their academic lifestyle has been a unique and pleasurable experience for me. As an older person, attending the ERAAGE conference in Brussels was a really special event and participation with the Research Team on the CALL-ME Project has been fantastic.

What would you like to see the NDA achieve?

It is important to revisit from time to time and remind ourselves of the revised evaluation criteria agreed by our OPRG:

Because our time is limited and the NDA Programme is such a large and ambitious one we must strive to work within the agreed remits of the 35 Programmes and remain focused on the NDA Programme’s ultimate aim of improving the quality of life of older people.

More involvement by older people will make the research programmes more comprehensive and accurate and reflect the future needs of our older communities.

At the end of the NDA Programme it would be great to meet up with all the Research Teams, Advisory Committee and the OPRG to summarise and reflect on the NDA Programme’s Research Projects and to invite Government ministers, politicians and decision-makers, to really understand the importance of Ageing Research and its conclusions. Our ultimate aim and commitment must be to improving the lives of our ever-growing older community worldwide.

“Yes Retirement is very demanding of one’s time”.

Forum to Forum, June 2008

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