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Older shoppers in Penrith celebrate as Rory Stewart MP supports SU4SD campaign

Rory Stewart MP meets Michael and Evelyn Baty at Argos in Penrith

[O]lder shoppers were celebrating this week after Rory Stewart MP joined Anchor’s Standing Up 4 Sitting Down campaign.

Mr Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border visiting the Argos store in Penrith said he was delighted to add his name to the growing list of supporters.  He was originally alerted about the campaign by one of his constituents Michael Baty, who by coincidence is a resident at Anchor’s Retirement Housing Scheme in Brackenber Court, Musgrove Street, Penrith.

In his letter to Michael, Rory Stewart wrote: “I absolutely approve of the move to try and persuade shops of the benefits of providing more seating for older shoppers, and as a direct result of your letter, I have been in touch with Anchor for more information and to lend my support to the campaign.

“Thank you once again for bringing this to my attention, and for all your hard work on launching this brilliant initiative in the Penrith area.”

Michael and his wife Evelyn, both 79 are two of the more active members of his Housing Scheme, helping run the residents’ committee and organising numerous events.

Michael said: “I saw the campaign launched last year and thought it was important for key people such as Rory Stewart to add his weight to it locally. I had open heart surgery 10 years ago so I can only walk short distances but Evelyn and I love going shopping so to know there are all these outlets where we can have a rest is so helpful.”

In the last month two more high profile high street retailers have joined up too. More than 80 Virgin Money stores and 600 Argos outlets have now signed up bringing the total number of retail outlets to more than 2,000 accounting for over 4,000 seats.

About the Campaign

Anchor’s Standing Up 4 Sitting Down campaign which is calling for retailers to maintain the amount of seating available in-store so that older people, or anyone who needs to, can rest mid-shop.

Anchor launched the campaign after research found that 69% of over 70s said the amount of seating in public places across the country is falling with 66% believing the lack of seating in shopping areas is a problem.

Jane Ashcroft, CEO of Anchor said: “Going shopping is something most of us take for granted and yet many thousands of older people feel excluded from our high streets. This is an issue not to be overlooked, as it increases older people’s isolation and loneliness, in turn affecting health and wellbeing. It’s also important for retailers who are missing out on huge amounts of revenue. We must value older people – everyone should have the chance to live life to the fullest, regardless of age.

“Anchor is highlighting the need for the high street to reinvent itself as a new report predicts up to £4.5bn annual losses by 2030 as retailers fail to attract the ‘grey pound’. The report, entitled ‘Older generations to rescue the high street’, by the Centre for Future Studies, was commissioned by Anchor.

The su4sd campaign has also been supported by Sainsbury’s, Debenhams, Hotter, and more than 250 independent retailers across England. If any other retailers wanted to join the campaign, pledging to maintain the number of seats they have available for shoppers to use, they can contact the su4sd team at [email protected].

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