Welcome from Brendan Kenny, Age Friendly Ireland Chairperson

A very warm welcome to the third edition of Age Friendly News.

2014 was a very good year for the Age Friendly Cities & Counties Programme with a number of significant milestones secured which set the Programme more firmly on the path to long term sustainability. In particular, the signing ceremony for the Dublin Declaration on Age Friendly Cities and Communities marked a pivotal moment for the Programme as it affirmed the commitment on the part of all local authorities to working towards an Age Friendly Ireland. It was also very pleasing to hear An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD endorse, so strongly, both the Age Friendly Programme and the work of the local authorities and the many programme partners working together in the Age Friendly space.

Please visit our website to access copies of the speeches delivered at the Ceremony by Christy Burke, Lord Mayor of Dublin; An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD; Conn Murray, Chair of the City and County Management Association; and Bob Gilbert, Chair of the Cavan Older Peoples Forum. The Declaration Programme and some photographs from the Ceremony have also been uploaded.

The Programme itself expanded rapidly during 2014. It is great that we start the New Year with 28 of our 31 Local Authorities having now adopted or committed to adopting a formal age friendly city or county wide programme. With many Programme areas at ‘early engagement’ phase in adopting the Age Friendly Programme, sharing of practice and learnings will be of considerable importance. We are therefore very pleased, as part of this newsletter, to share a new Age Friendly Programme Handbook which has been written primarily to provide very practical guidance and to take the Age Friendly Alliances through the key stages involved in setting up and running an Age Friendly Programme.

This third edition of our newsletter contains a number of other useful items and features including a very interesting interview with HSE National Director of Health and Wellbeing, Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe. There is also news of the very recently held Age Friendly Recognition and Achievement Awards Ceremony which provided an initial opportunity to recognise and share Age Friendly practice. With upwards of eighty practices submitted for consideration this event has provided one key input towards the development of an Age Friendly Repository of Practice which we are planning to launch across the first quarter of 2015. I would encourage you all to input to this developing Repository. The now national network of participating cities and counties provides a valuable opportunity to learn from each other and to strengthen what can be done to improve the quality of life for all of us as we age.

Wishing you all the best for an Age Friendly 2015,

Brendan Kenny, Chair, Age Friendly Ireland

Assistant Chief Executive, Dublin City Council.