New chair heralds exciting new year for Age Concern Lancashire

By Age Concern Central Lancashire

14 Jan 2020

Incoming chair of trustees Norman Tenray explains the thrill and challenges of leading Age Concern Central Lancashire (ACCL), and pays tribute to its outgoing leaders.

Age Concern, the charity committed to combating loneliness, isolation, dementia and so much more among Lancashire’s elderly population, has announced its new chair of trustees.

Norman Tenray is the CEO of OBAS UK Ltd, an entrepreneur in residence at Lancaster University and performs a non-executive director role with the North & Western Lancashire Chambers of Commerce. Now at Age Concern, Norman explained his role is to build on the historical success in delivering crucial services and support to the local community.

He said: “I believe there’s real opportunity to build on the tremendous achievements and goodwill that’s been generated historically and protect it for future generations. We’re all living longer, yet at a time when need has never been greater organisations like Age Concern find ourselves with some very specific funding challenges when it really should be the reverse.

"I’m hoping I can help take the organisation forward by thinking outside the box and explore new revenue streams to support an incredible team who are enthusiastic, passionate, focused and committed.”

Norman, who was elected to the board together with three new trustees, was quick to pay tribute to outgoing chair Ann Gaskell, who held the position for 10 years, and fellow departing trustees Audrey Knowles, Theresa Whittaker and Sylvia Williams.

“I have some very big shoes to fill,” he said, “but that’s the appeal of the challenge isn’t it? Knowing that you have to up your game to meet the standard that has been set.”

Ann Gaskell thanked the entire Age Concern team for their support over the past decade, saying, “You know how much I have enjoyed my time at Age Concern but I know that the time is now right for me to move on from the role.” She added she was “full of optimism” for the future of the organisation.

5 Questions with Norman Tenray

Age Concern’s new Chair of Trustees talks inspiration, making a difference and discovering the hidden depths of Pete Waterman.

“I like to get involved with things that challenge me,” says Norman Tenray, when we meet to discuss his recent appointment as Chair of Trustees for Age Concern. Taking him at his word, we fire five fiendish questions at him and sit back as he makes inspirational mincemeat of the answers:

1. If you could make one policy change that would benefit the elderly, what would it be?

Too often we focus on what’s topical; on who shouts loudest. That’s rarely the elderly, yet these are people who’ve done so much to help their country and community. They’ve invested in us. But we’ve failed to invest in them. We’re ignoring them and that’s why I’m getting involved now.

I want to be part of a strong team who can be a strong voice on their behalf to protect the services they need. So my policy change would be to ensure that, when the elderly have paid into the system all their lives, they no longer struggle to get their fair share out of it.

2. What’s the biggest misunderstanding about old age?

My grandparents ran residential homes when I was younger so I spent lots of my youth in a care environment. I think the biggest issue then remains the biggest issue now: loneliness.

There’s often an assumption that when we talk about services for the elderly we’re either talking about medical services or things like hair care. Actually, communication and contact are often where the need is greatest – and that need is getting bigger. That’s why our volunteers are so valuable.

So we need to champion our elderly. We need to show looking after the elderly is ‘sexy’.

3. Why Age Concern? Why now?

All the services mature people need are under the cosh. They’re in jeopardy of being lost forever and, if that happens, who’s going to pick up the pieces?

Age Concern Lancashire delivers an incredible service in a really efficient way. If we lose that, what other organisation can do what we do so well? We know they won’t be able to deliver the same service at the same cost, so why not protect what we have before its gone?

4. What’s impressed you most about Age Concern since you joined?

Well, I’ve only been here a couple of weeks but I was at the AGM and the launch of the What the Flock campaign and I was hugely impressed by the people who spoke so passionately about how they’re involved. I’ve seen the lifechanging impact they have on people who would otherwise be forgotten.

5. If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, who would you choose?

Famous people can surprise you: I sat on a train with Pete Waterman once. I knew about his music career, about turning people like Rick Astley and Kylie Minogue into pop stars, but I knew nothing about his work with young people, his passion for steam engines, his engagement with the LEP.

And you can meet people who have no public profile but are inspiring simply because of what they do. I like to put myself in situations where I can meet people who are making a difference – they’re the real heroes

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