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Change Agents and Power2010: empowering older people25.02.2010 // by Ciaran Norris
Last week I travelled to Derby to address Change Agents Network UK, a new working cooperative that has been set up to champion the interests of older citizens across the UK.
As one of Power2010's newest and most active partners, I was delighted to find out that the first major national conference was being held in my region.
They had kindly invited me to deliver the after dinner speech on engaging older people in democracy using technology.
The context of the speech was to involve and engage a large section of society that is currently largely ignored in the new age of digital politics.
Change Agents rightly felt, as I did, that with what the pundits are calling ‘the twitter election' around the corner - that has to change.
When I was told I would be delivering the address via a PowerPoint presentation I initially feared I was putting the cart before the horse.
However, the delegates at the conference were very receptive. As anyone who was there can attest, the Q&A session I faced after the speech was about as close as I'll get to a candidates' grilling at a Hustings.
And they told me it was going to be easy!
This was due mostly to the aforementioned fact that older people are largely ignored in political discussion online. And the more the political debate moves online, the further away it gets from older people.
This is something I hope will begin to change in the near future.
A key part of the problem is accessibility, not just in terms of fewer older people having internet access, but in terms of making what is already online accessible in the way it is presented.
Change Agents is currently designing it's new website and as soon as it is up a running I shall attach a link on the Power2010 website.
Until then, I cannot stress enough how important it is for Parliamentary candidates to get in touch with Change Agents Network UK so they can meet the team - and build links with their local community groups.
You can get in touch by contacting email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The next election may well be fought in new media, but a word of warning to any and all politicians, ignore older people at your peril.
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