Older People’s Champion deserving recipient of Age Scotland Jess Barrow award

Councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol

Published: Wednesday, 18th November 2020

We are among those congratulating Councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol on being this year’s recipient of the Age Scotland Jess Barrow Award for Influencing and Campaigning.

Councillor Thornton-Nicol was nominated in particular for being one of the first in Scotland to take on the role of Older People’s Champion, which she carries out in addition to her role as elected member for the Selkirkshire Ward and Champion for the Deaf Community.

She also sits on the Scottish Borders Integration Joint Board and is a founder member of the Borders Older People’s Planning Partnership (BOPPP).

Some of her more significant achievements include persuading all her fellow Scottish Borders councillors to undertake Dementia Friendly training to better understand the needs of people living with dementia.

As a British Sign Language user, she has also campaigned to make sure this is used throughout the Council to make it more inclusive for Deaf people.

In her role as Chair of her local Community Council in Newtown St Boswells, she led a group of volunteers to take over the local Community Wing. This has now been refurbished into a thriving community centre, which usually hosts older people’s groups, lunch clubs and youth activities.

She has also campaigned nationwide to encourage all Scottish local authorities to follow the Borders and elect Older People’s Champions to ensure they have a strong voice.

More information

  • Image of Councillor Thornton-Nicol with her award is available on our Flickr page
  • A copy of the Age Scotland news release on the award is available on their website
  • The BOPPP survey is being held from 2-29 November 2020. It is available online or via a telephone conversation. More information is available on our website

Councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol, Older People’s Champion and Champion for the Deaf Community

“It was a complete surprise to find out I had been nominated for the Jess Barrow Award and a great honour to win it. I am privileged to be the Older People’s Champion for the Council and working in partnership with organisations, individuals, officers and NHS colleagues means the voices that are sometimes ignored are heard. I will never stop doing everything I can to make the Scottish Borders a great place to grow older.”

Councillor Tom Weatherston, Executive Member for Adult Wellbeing

“This is a very prestigious award and Elaine is a very deserving winner. She works tirelessly on behalf of older people right across the Borders, making sure their voices are heard and the issues that are important to them are brought to the attention of those who need to be aware of them.

“Recently she has been instrumental in working with the BOPPP on a survey that aims to provide vital information about the experience of older population during the pandemic, just one example of the hard work and deep commitment which has been evident not only during her time as an elected member but also in her previous career with the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service.”