A champion for older people in London
Here is APP Candidate Ajaratu Bangura’s full speech to the Lewisham Pensioners Forum at the Greenwich and Lewisham London Assembly Hustings on Wednesday 20 April 2016:
Good morning Ladies and Gentleman.
I delighted to join you this morning.
My name is Ajaratu Bangura. I am the All Peoples Party, APP, candidate for Lewisham and Greenwich. I’ve lived in South London for nearly 20 years. For the last ten years, I have been helping those less fortunate in London.
In 1995, I helped set up the Muslim Women Food Bank in South London. Every Tuesday, we distribute grocery bags to some of the most vulnerable people who live below the poverty line in Lewisham, Lambeth and Southwark. I was humbled to be shortlisted for a European Diversity Award last year as their Hero of the Year for my work.
Sadly, the majority of those we help are elderly, who have no choice but to turn to food banks. I am angry that so many older people in South London have told me that they feel isolated and disconnected from the community they have lived in for over 30 years.
This must change.
If elected as your Assembly Member, I will provide 3 solutions to make this change happen:
First we must recognise the contribution you have made to Lewisham, Greenwich and London.
I will ask the Mayor to allocate more resources for social gatherings like bingo and coffee mornings; for community trips outside London; and for older people friendly social evenings. I hope we can have an annual Older People’s Day by 2020.
Second, we must fight for more investment in older people’s services.
I will urge politicians in City Hall and Westminster, and the voluntary sector to invest more in social care and adult services. I want to make London a dementia friendly borough by 2024, starting with Lewisham and Greenwich. And I will join hands with you to achieve this.
Third and finally, I will do whatever I can to protect older people’s benefits and entitlements.
I agree with you that the basic state pension should be set above the poverty level. And I believe in a National Health and Care Service which is free at the point of use. We should never forget the contribution and sacrifices our older generations make to protect future generations.
To conclude, I am standing to be your next Assembly Member because I want everyone in London to have their voices heard at the top of the table in City Hall.
I can assure you, that you will always come first and party politics will come last. You deserve much better.
I hope you will consider challenging the status quo on Thursday 5 May to bring about the real change we need. We need a fair and caring representation for everyone in our great boroughs.
Together we can make sure your voice is heard at the top in City Hall.
Together we can create a better Lewisham and Greenwich for all of us, especially our older people.
Together we can build One London.