I am delighted to welcome you to the second edition of Age Friendly News. On behalf of Age Friendly Ireland, I want to thank everyone for the positive feedback we received in response to our first edition released at the end of July. Over time, and across a number of formats, we are aiming to to develop a repository of good age friendly practice. However this will very much depend on your input and I would therefore encourage you to forward us your stories, learnings, and information on the creative practices that have been successfully introduced across the network of age friendly cities and counties.
This autumn is proving to be a very busy period for the national Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme, with a number of key milestone events taking place, including the very recent launch of Professor Brian Lawlor’s significant research study on loneliness. The Cork County Age Friendly Programme was also officially launched in early October and this will mark the beginning of a series of consultation sessions to be hosted across the county. The voice of the older person continues to drive and inform the programme and it is pleasing to hear that similar consultations are also planned or underway in Cork City, Donegal, Laois, Sligo and Waterford.
Since the July/August newsletter a number of additional Local Authorities have committed to adopt the Age Friendly Programme. This growing scale will help to further enhance the Programmes positioning within a national context while also strengthening its alignment with key national policy goals. With significant interest from the last few outstanding authorities we are very hopeful of achieving our ambition of all local authorities having committed to the programme by early 2015. To this end networking and sharing of practice and learnings across the counties will be of increasing relevance moving forward and in supporting those that have yet to adopt the Programme. Louth’s recent hosting of a study visit by a delegation of Cork County Council senior officials was, by all accounts, of considerable value to the formative Cork Age Friendly County Programme. In the case of Dublin City neighbouring counties, and particularly Fingal, have been most supportive and open to partnership opportunities which have the real potential to impact positively on the lives of older people across the greater Dublin area. Cavan, Monaghan and Meath’s collaborative approach to the pilot of the very successful Crime Prevention Ambassadors programme points further to the value of partnership and looking beyond one’s traditional geographic boundaries.
In September, Dublin City launched its Age Friendly Strategy 2014-19 at a ceremony attended by Minister of State at the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch TD. I am particularly pleased with some of the actions contained within this strategy including commitments on the part of An Garda Siochana to appoint a dedicated Garda with responsibility for older people in every station throughout Dublin. The HSE has also committed to engage with relevant representative organisations to develop and pilot an age-friendly GP toolkit. The toolkit will set out key recommendations to support GPs in creating age-friendly practices.
You can read more about this strategy and other key Programme developments throughout the newsletter. The interview with Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan is particularly interesting and further demonstrates the very significant commitment by An Garda Siochana to the Age Friendly Programme. I hope you find these and other news items to be of interest.
Brendan Kenny, Chair of Age Friendly Ireland and Assistant Chief Executive, Dublin City Council