THE Older People’s Commissioner for Wales met with over 600 people at 29 events in Gwent during 2013.

These visits formed part of the Commissioner’s Engagement Roadshow, which met with a total of 5,400 people at 180 events across Wales during the year.

The commissioner, Sarah Rochira, made a commitment when she took up post in June 2012 to visit communities across Wales as part of her Engagement Roadshow, to meet and speak with older people and to hear first-hand about what matters to them.

Ms Rochira travelled over 25,000 miles across the country in 2013, visiting groups, organisations and individuals including the National Association of Retired Police Officers and Age Cymru Gwent.

In Blaenau Gwent Ms Rochira visited the Ebbw Vale and Tai Calon sites of The Rookery care home, while in Monmouthsire she attended a tea party in The Narth, organised by Contact the Elderly.

Ms Rochira also helped launch the Abergavenny 50+ group, set up to act on behalf of older people from the area and ensure their voices are heard.

She said: “One of the key concerns older people in South Wales have shared with me is the cuts to local bus routes, which leave people lonely and isolated. The closure of public toilets, a vital community resource, is also something that many older people in the area have told me they are worried about. It is important, even in these difficult financial times, not to lose sight of the vital role services such as these services can play in helping people to get out and about, stay engaged with their local communities and maintain their independence.”

The commissioner’s engagement with over 5,400 people during 2013 eclipses the figure of 4,000 for 2012, with more events taking place than ever before. The Commissioner’s Enquiries and Support Team have also provided help and support to over 1,000 older people who have contacted the commissioner’s office to seek advice and assistance.