Age-Friendly Communities Updates: February 2024


Age-Friendly Communities Update welcomes you to our first blog of 2024.

We will add articles to the Age-Friendly Communities Update page regularly throughout the year. As well as news from Caerphilly, we will publish items showing progress across Wales.

1. Our Steering Committee

The Caerphilly Over 50 Steering Committee has undergone an amazing transformation in the first few weeks of 2024. Seven more active volunteers joined our committee in the New Year. Our representation now reaches from Newbridge to Ystrad Mynach and from Machen to the north of the Winding House. This brings our Steering Group back to full strength. Our thanks to Moose International Lodge Blackwood for the use of their facility. We held our first Face-to-Face meetings there in January and February this year.

At ouOld fashioned typewriterr first meeting, the article, “Access Denied”, provoked considerable discussion about Digital Exclusion. The Committee was concerned about older people and the disabled who cannot access the internet. They considered it essential to provide effective alternative services.

We were also concerned for those who have some basic knowledge to enable them to use a digital device but are not fully aware of how to use it securely.

But don’t think that we have not been active both during and since the Covid pandemic. The Steering Committee met virtually through the pandemic and afterward. Our Lunch Club ran until December 2023 and we are now looking to raise funding to continue. We have also developed a portfolio of over 20 Virtual Reality 360-degree videos for our Inside-Outside project.

The number of followers on social media has been growing. We now have over 600 followers on Facebook and 850 on Twitter.

2. Age-Friendly Communities: Wales

2.1 Community of Practice

The Older People’s Commissioner’s Office has created a Community of Practice. It is a forum where Age-Friendly practitioners from across Wales come together to share results and ideas. The growing network is about helping others who are engaged in creating Age-Friendly Communities throughout Wales.

Age-Friendly Community of Practice

A description of our Inside – Outside: 360-degree Virtual Reality Videos headed the list of good examples on their website.

Inside – Outside: 360-degree Virtual Reality Videos

2.2 The WHO Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities

Plans by Local Authorities (LAs) are being developed to join the WHO network. The Older People’s Commissioner’s Officers describe the Age-Friendly process as a ‘journey’. Some LAs are further along that journey than others with Cardiff, Anglesey, Flintshire, and the Vale of Glamorgan already members. Swansea, RCT, Ceredigion, Gwynedd, and Denbighshire have submitted applications.

Denbighshire showed the cooperative spirit of Age-Friendly Communities. They are working across their region with Gwynedd, Anglesey, Conwy, Flintshire, and Wrexham to share experiences and challenges in the application process.

In the Vale of Glamorgan, the Age Friendly Vale Officer used the Welsh Government Age-Friendly grant to relaunch the 50+ Forum, which has allowed members to have their say on a range of issues that matter to them.

The Age-Friendly Lead officer in Caerphilly has established 6 Age-Friendly hubs. These are in Caerphilly, Newbridge, Rhymney, Risca, New Tredegar and Bargoed. He is also planning to secure one in the Nelson/Ystrad Mynach area.

3. Age-Friendly Caerphilly Over 50

3.1 A Care Home in Caerphilly

A private Care Home contacted us after seeing details of our Inside-Outside Virtual Reality (VR) project on our website. We had an initial visit when they gave us a tour of their Home and had an introductory discussion about our VR films. They were very interested in our offering.

Chromecast: Our initial demonstrations, as reported on our website, used only the headsets with their bespoke films. One carer and a volunteer performed the demonstrations as ‘events’ for the residents. We subsequently thought of what could be a better way of running these ‘events’. The headset could stream the video to a TV, via the Chromecast, that the other residents were watching. Other residents, who were awaiting their turn, could watch and interact with the TV picture.

We are meeting in the Care Home in early March. Their IT support will meet us there to help set up the system. We will give demonstrations of the system to the staff and residents over the next few weeks.

3.2 More Videos

Our portfolio now includes another two 360-degree videos.

Cwmcarn Forest: The video shows a walk through the forest. It includes our intrepid Filmer walking up Twmbarlwm and taking a drive around the spectacular Cwmcarn Forest Drive.

Blaenavon Steam Railway: See the heritage steam train approaching the station. Watch it pass under the bridge you are standing on. Even go for a ride.

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