- 2016 National Retired Members Conference
- 8 June 2016
It is widely recognised that walking is an activity that has great health benefits for pensioners. It is free, available to everyone and can be a pleasant social recreation. Medical advice is that walking can improve balance, strengthen muscles and reduce the risk of falls. Living Streets is the national charity that stands up for pedestrians and works to create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets. It has recently published a booklet aimed directly at pensioners encouraging more people to use walking as part of their routine. However there are barriers to walking especially for older people and those with disabilities who are more likely to have health problems. Prominent amongst these are the low priority given by many Highway Authorities to the maintenance and resurfacing of footways, their obstruction by street furniture and overgrown vegetation and the lack of police enforcement of the laws relating to cycling on footways and their obstruction by parked vehicles. Those who use mobility scooters or wheelchairs also suffer from these apparent low priorities as their efforts to be independent can also be thwarted.
UNISON’s retired members can be a powerful voice in seeking change for the better, by encouraging their retired members in Local Authority and Police branches to bring these issues to the notice of local decision makers and at a national Level the National Retired Members Committee and the National Executive Council could seek to persuade the Government of the health benefits that could occur if greater priority were given to better management of footways.
Conference therefore calls upon the National Retired Members Committee to liaise with the National Executive Council to consult with the National Pensioners Convention, other Trade Union retired members sections and other relevant organisations to bring pressure on Government to issue appropriate advice to Local Highway Authorities and Police Forces to achieve these objectives.
In addition, Conference calls on the National Retired Members’ Committee to promote the work undertaken by Living Streets, particularly with regard to the information produced to encourage more pensioners to engage in walking.