Launch of Age Friendly Strategy

October 13, 2014

Newry and Mourne Age Friendly Strategic Alliance  launched its Age Friendly Strategy and Charter for the Newry and Mourne District last Monday in Bagenal’s Castle.

The Age Friendly Strategic initiative includes representatives from a range of groups including the, council, health, policing, education, housing, churches, transport and the voluntary sector and Senior Citizens Consortium and U3A.

This district wide Age Friendly initiative aims to make Newry and Mourne a great place to grow older, and one which supports, values and enables older people to play a full role in the community life of the area.

The action plan is based around the eight age friendliness themes of the World Health Organisation i.e. Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transport, Housing, Respect and Social Inclusion, Social Participation, Communication and Information, Civic Participation and Employment and Community and Health Services. The plan was developed through ongoing meaningful consultation and engagement with older people as they lie at the heart of the entire process. They identified the key issues under each of the eight themes which were important to them.

The Strategic Alliance has also developed an Age Friendly Charter which all organizations will sign up to and as well as a website for information. An Older Persons Forum has also been established which will influence the implementation of the Action Plan.

The Older People Commissioner, Claire Keatinge said:

“Older people across Northern Ireland are making valuable contributions to local communities day in, day out, through volunteering, caring, childcare and working, and it is important that the vital role that they play is acknowledged and celebrated.

“I am delighted that Newry and Mourne Council are leading the way in promoting positive attitudes about ageing through the development of the Age Friendly initiative. As an ageing society, it is essential that we ensure that the contributions made by older people are recognised.

“Just last week I launched a report which found that older people will make a net positive contribution of almost £25 billion to the Northern Ireland economy in the next 50 years. This figure, along with initiatives such as Positive Ageing Week, have the power to challenge negative perceptions that older people are a drain on economic resources as it shines a light on the often untold part of the story of the positive contributions they make.”

Speaking at the launch, Councillor Daire Hughes, Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council welcomed the Newry and Mourne Age Friendly initiative stating “this is the product of excellent partnership working and collaboration between many agencies and the community to agree a strategy which will have a substantial impact on the lives of older people. This is an effective example of proactive community planning leading to the effective use of resources and delivery of customer focused services.”