Jane Ashcroft CBE
In 2015, she hit the headlines when she led calls for a dedicated minister for older people at cabinet level. ‘Grey Pride’ was a project of the heart and the head for the CEO of Anchor, who in her day job leads the housing and care needs of 40,000 older people across England.
“Our campaign for Minister for Old People was inspired by our experience,” she says, “The policies around working life, retirement, employment, care, housing and many other issues need to be on the agenda of multiple departments.”
In her role, she is committed to “changing the way we think about later life” and strives to “provide services that support independent lifestyles…[and] focus on what people can do rather than what they can’t.”
“A vibrant economy is about opportunities for all age groups”
With customers spanning in age from 55 to 109 years old, there is no straightforward way to do this. She claims that Anchor’s success is thanks to great people, creative use of mainstream technology, borrowing freely from private sector thinking and building two-way relationships with customers.
“15 years ago it was considered disrespectful or inappropriate to call [older people receiving publicly-funded services] them customers,” she says. “But we wanted to demonstrate the equality in the relationship and the fact that people are funding and paying for us.”
“A vibrant economy is about opportunities for all age groups,” Jane believes. “Our changing demography alongside pressure on public finances requires us to think differently. Business engagement can ensure investment, manage risk, provide job opportunities and accelerate change.”