How it All Began

Harry Kay and Jack Jones (right) set up the Greater London Forum for the Elderly (GLF) in 1987. The GLF grew out

of a GLC Forum for the Elderly, led by Harry. Carlie Newman was appointed as its first Director and work was launched in 1988. As Harry Kay was a councillor (as well as being Vice-Chairman of the GLC), the GLF was able to obtain support from the Barking and Dagenham council and set up rent-free premises.

The need was for an organisation to act as a Parliament for pensioners and to provide a body which looked after the needs of local pensioners by giving them a voice in their own affairs. The GLF began with 6 local borough Forums and in time, 33 boroughs had some kind of Forum or umbrella organisation in membership.

The new GLF was started with a half-time coordinator and a part-time secretary and funding for only five months. By the time Carlie Newman became a full-time Director, the GLF had become a charity with longer term funding and an
administrator to join the team.Two Forum Development Officers were recruited later and a half-time Administrator to support them also joined the team.

Grants were also obtained for a number of projects over the years including The Rowntree project for getting the older person’s voice heard in community care, the training of advocates to help frail elderly people with community care assessments and the Millennium Festival project which saw a meeting held by virtually every Forum to choose motions which were debated in a grand Seniors London Parliament. And, of course, the establishment of a Pensioners’ Centre in the late nineties (now lost) which, apart from providing the GLF with a home in the centre of London, enabled the NPC to set up a professional body. An active black and minority elders’ working group was also established.

Over the years, the GLF provided a lot of training for members.Carlie Newman retired in 2002 after 14 years with the GLF. Lynn Strother then joined the GLF as the new director.

What do people say about us? Here are some of our testimonials:

  • "The workshops, seminars and various meetings and events they organise are invaluable to myself and others some of whom are far worse off than I am. They encourage us to participate in and think about how we can help ourselves and others."

  • "The symbol for GLF is an umbrella, a most apt depiction, as they shelter all the forums and join us together under one top. However, aprt from unifying forums, giving us so much more strength, particularly at a pan London level."

The GLFs patrons are: Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Professor Jill Manthorpe and Professor Alan Walker