Volunteer Initiative Wins Prestigious United Nations Award
The Senior Citizen Liaison Team Charity (SCLT) from the South West of England and South Wales is among the winners to receive the prestigious UN Public Service Award on Friday 23rd June, for its initiative to provide specialised, protective, fraud education services for the older adult population of the Region.
Ashley Jones received the 2017 UN Public Service Award at a ceremony held in The Hague, Netherlands on behalf of the SCLT, the team which he founded in 2009, and for which he has dedicated all this spare time since.
Through the initiative, tens of thousands of vulnerable older adults have benefited from one of the senior safety presentations, which are provided to groups of elders by the small but dedicated team of volunteer presenters. Or they may have benefited from crime prevention advice by reading an edition of the Senior Siren magazine, the publication which now in its 7th year of print and is made available to as many as 250,000 readers each quarterly edition.
Hundreds of thousands of readers, from throughout the globe have access to the magazine and advice of the charity via its website (www.sclt.us) which has been specially produced to make it accessible to the elder community.
Citing the impact the initiative had, the UN said it led to a "clear reduction in elder crime through its victim-centred approach."
The UN Public Service Awards are given by the world body, to institutions from across the world, for their innovation and excellence in providing public services. It highlights the pivotal role of public services, in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Senior Citizen Liaison Team was among the 12 institutions from 11 countries, that were recognised by the world body on UN Public Service Day, commemorated on Friday 23rd June.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ashley Jones said, “The ageing population is the significant social change issue facing society today. There are currently 10.5 million people aged 65 and over in the UK, with this number is set to rise by another 50 per cent within 20-years.
Older adults are often the most vulnerable people in our communities and are frequently targeted by heartless criminals, who seek to exploit the inherent fragilities associated with older age.
The ethos of the Senior Citizen Liaison Team Charity and our public service partners is very simple. We provide a bespoke package of protective, crime-prevention services for the vulnerable, elder community with our small team of elite volunteers. We reach out to elders of all racial groups, languages and cultural identities, to ensure that they are less likely to become victims of crime, especially frauds and deceptions which are specifically targeted at elders”
The UN Public Service Day is celebrated every year, to recognise public service innovations and excellence that have led to more effective and inclusive public service delivery, contributing to the achievement of the SDGs in countries worldwide.
The UN received over 550 nominations, from 62 countries for the prestigious awards process. The United Kingdom (SCLT) is among the first-place winners of the public service awards, along with projects from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mongolia and India. The second-place winners are projects from Botswana, Colombia, France, Thailand.
The winner from Argentina is an initiative that provided quality early childhood education to neighbourhoods in extreme needs.
An initiative in Australia was recognised that promotes transparency and inclusiveness in use of public funds and resources while in Thailand, a project was recognised for providing quality care to elders.
In Botswana, the effective waste management system has been implemented to improve communities.
Other award winners include projects to provide inclusive access to quality health care in Ecuador and productive water management system in France.
"We need to mobilise the best expertise of public servants to transform institutions and put people at the centre of public service. We need to mobilise their creativity and empower them to take risks and try new ways of doing things. In brief, we need innovation so that no one is left behind," said Thomas Gass, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs.
The United Nations Public Service Awards were created in 2003 and to date, some 200 public institutions from around the world have received recognition by the body. The Senior Citizen Liaison Team initiative is the first winner of the award from the United Kingdom.
Commenting on the award, Ashley Jones said, “It has been a huge honour to be able to accept this award on behalf of all the volunteers, past and present, who have contributed their time and considerable skills, to making this initiative a success. We are a 100% volunteer team and no one receives any form of remuneration for their activities with the charity. Which makes it more enjoyable to receive this globally recognised accolade, as we are all motivated by vocation rather than reward.
On a personal level, I believe it is my privilege to be able to help protect the vulnerable, elder members of the community, who are at risk from the heartless criminals, who seek to exploit the fragilities of later life for their own financial gain. After all, where would our society be today, without the remarkable sacrifices of those who have gone before us.
I am humbled to receive this trophy from the Assistant Secretary General and make the solemn commitment that we will continue to work tirelessly in our goal to keep our vulnerable elders safe in their twilight years”
Flags outside the World forum Conference Centre in The Hague - Venue of the United Nation Public Service Forum
Ashley Jones & Rachael Jones receive the United Nations Public Service Award 1st Place trophy from Mr Thomas Gass, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs
Ashley Jones (3rd from left) participates as a speaker in the United Nations Public Service Forum theme track ‘Unlocking the Potential of the Furthest Behind’ with ministers representing India and Argentina (2nd from left, His Excellency, Dr Amit Mitra – Finance Minster of West Bengal, India and 2nd from right, Her Excellency, Professor Erica Figueroa – Secretary of Education, Sante Fe, Argentina)
Ashley Jones (Rachael Jones in background) speaks with an interested party at the Senior Citizen Liaison Team exhibition stand at the United Nations Innovation Fair in The Hague
Group image of all winners (1st & 2nd Place) of the United Nations Public Service Awards 2017