Thursday 1 October 2015 embargoed until 3pm 
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Winners of Age Concern’s 2015 Dignity Champion Award announced today on International Day of Older People 

Age Concern has today announced the two winners of the International Day of Older People (IDOP) 2015 Dignity Champion Award. 

Margaret Dando from Age Concern Otago has won the Dignity Champion Award for Community for her amazing work in establishing the falls prevention programme for older people, Steady As You Go, with Sally Blundell from The Listener winning the Dignity Champion Award for Media for her commitment in voicing the important issues that older people in New Zealand are currently facing.

Steady as You Go (SAYGO) is a one hour weekly, ongoing, strength and balance exercise programme with a central coordinator, for over 65 year olds living independently in the community. Margaret developed a peer-led model of the class which enables people to continue their strength and balance class after ten weeks. 

Age Concern New Zealand CEO Robyn Scott says that it is Margaret’s excellent working relationship with older people that has enabled her to develop such a robust programme that is making a huge difference in the lives of older people. 

Today there are 42 peer-led SAYGO classes in Dunedin City and 18 in rural Otago and Southland townships. With the support of 120 peer leaders, Margaret continues to manage and grow this huge programme which now has 1400 participants.

“Margaret really and truly is a deserving recipient of the 2015 Dignity Champion Award for Community” says Mrs Scott. “We are honoured to present her with this award on International Day of Older People.” 

Mrs Scott also says that she is thrilled to award Sally Blundell from The Listener the 2015 Dignity Champion Award for Media. 

“This year Sally has written two incredibly in depth articles about two hugely important issues for older people – loneliness and social isolation and elder abuse.” With more than 50,000 older New Zealanders experiencing loneliness and with Age Concern receiving more than 2,000 referrals of elder abuse every year, these issues are something that older people are facing every day. 

“We are hugely grateful to Sally for shining a light on these issues” says Mrs Scott. “We are thrilled to be able to recognise her compassion by awarding her the Dignity Champion Award for Media.”

The Dignity Champion Award is awarded annually on International Day of Older People to those who show an outstanding commitment to breaking down ageism and stereotypes and encouraging dignity and respect for all people.

The Awards were presented today at Age Concern’s IDOP event in Hamilton, with performances from the oldest hip hop group in the world – The Hip Op-eration Crew as well as performances from Age Concern Hamilton’s Zumba Gold Group who’s oldest member is 89. 

Mrs Scott says that IDOP is a time to celebrate the value of older people and a chance to acknowledge their contributions to our communities; in the work place, as volunteers, as caregivers and as whole people, with dreams, aspirations, wisdom and experience. 

“Both the Hip Op-eration Crew and the Zumba Gold Group have helped us to demonstrate the importance of wellbeing for older people this International Day of Older People” says Mrs Scott. Age Concern believes that older people’s wellbeing is multi-faceted and ranges from social connection, mental and spiritual health and a strong purpose, to physical health, falls prevention, nutrition and more. 

Age Concern wishes to highlight the importance of exercise, social connection, brain exercises, a healthy diet and more as the key to ageing well and IDOP 2015 focusses on these wellbeing factors. 

Mrs Scott say that it is the local Age Concerns throughout New Zealand that provide these services that enable older people to lead healthier, socially connected, safe and respected lives. 


Greta Parker, Communications and Marketing Officer Age Concern New Zealand
04 801 9338