A bid to join the UK network for age-friendly communities, a global initiative led by the World Health Organisation that supports healthy, active ageing, has proved successful in North Yorkshire.
The aim of the age-friendly communities network, which is being rolled out by North Yorkshire County Council and its partners, is to foster healthy and active ageing by making it possible for people to continue to stay in their homes, to participate in the activities that they value and to contribute to their communities for as long as possible.
To become a member of the network, the county council had to demonstrate that it was committed to working towards becoming a full member of the Global Network for Age Friendly Cities and Communities by implementing strategies and work programmes that support older people through community initiatives.
County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supported Housing, said:
Becoming an accredited member of the age-friendly communities network complements the work the county council and its partners – the North Yorkshire Forum for Older People, Age UK, Community First North Yorkshire and the county’s district and borough councils – are doing to support older people to age well and continue to enjoy life in their local community.
Being part of the network means we will be able to access support and training opportunities that we can learn from and build into the work our Living Well teams are already doing across North Yorkshire.
Living Well was launched by the county council in 2015 to work with people to prevent them becoming isolated, to help to improve their health and to develop their interests. Team members have visited more than 5,000 people, many of them over 75 and living alone. More than 90 per cent of people visited say the support was successful and almost three-quarters showed a meaningful improvement in their wellbeing.
The next stage of the council’s journey to support age-friendly communities is to hold a series of engagement events to identify what is already working well in North Yorkshire and to find out what could be improved in both the physical environment (such as transport, housing and outdoor spaces) and the social environment (including volunteering, leisure, employment and support services) that support the local community and enable people to lead healthy and active later lives.
An action plan will then be developed for each of the county’s districts, based on the priorities that have been identified.