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Council pledges support for Age Friendly agenda

15 November 2019

Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Health and Community Committee have pledged their firm support for the delivery of a dedicated Age Friendly programme within the Derry and Strabane area. 

Funding has been confirmed by the Public Health Agency (PHA) of £63,332 for the Implementation of the Age Friendly Communities Project which runs until March 2021, and members welcomed the commitment, promising to step up the Age Friendly agenda here.

Age NI, the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Department for Communities (DfC) have recently created a regional Age Friendly Network to support the development of Age Friendly environments across Northern Ireland. The regional network will assist in the implementation of the Active Ageing Strategy 2016-21, developing a consistent approach and raising awareness of how council can make their services more age friendly.

Chair of the Health and Community Committee, Councillor Paul Fleming, told committee members at their monthly meeting in the Guildhall, that a new local strategy was needed to shape the approach to making the North West an Age Friendly Region. “I am delighted to see the level of support for promoting age friendly activity within our Council and devising a new strategy to help us in the delivery of services and programmes,” he said.

“People are living longer and it makes sense that we respond by ensuring a better quality of life for older people through health and enrichment schemes. It’s vital that we now engage with our older community to ensure that this programme addresses all the relevant issues and has the maximum impact in terms of enhancing the lives of members of our older community.”

Developing an Age Friendly City and Region is one of the priorities identified within the Strategic Growth Plan for Derry and Strabane, working in partnership with the community and statutory organisations tasked with supporting older people, including Age NI, the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Department for Communities (DfC)

Council’s Head of Health and Community Wellbeing, Seamus Donaghy, said that work will begin shortly to generate engagement with older people locally. “Age Friendly will closely relate to other health and wellbeing activity being progressed by Council such as the home accident prevention services, access and inclusion, physical activity and other services provided by Council’s partners.

“There will now be a focus on the development and implementation of a three-year Age Friendly Strategy for the DCSDC area utilising a co-design approach to engage a range of stakeholders including older people. We want to identify gaps relative to the World Health Organisation Age Friendly criteria, including across Council departments, partner organisations, community plans, disability plans, tourism plans and local development plans.”

Councillors voted to approve a series of actions including the appointment of an Age Friendly Officer, establishment of an Age Friendly Steering Group and a community development approach to engage local people, raising awareness of and interest in participation in Age Friendly activities and service design.