Age-Friendly Updates: June 2023
We will add articles to the Age-Friendly Updates page regularly to inform the progress of Caerphilly’s over 50 programmes. Posts will include some views on the Age-Friendly process.
Caerphilly will not be the only topic for our blogs. We will publish news from around Wales when it is available.
Letter Of Commitment
Caerphilly Council CEO Christina Harrhy, responded to our concerns that we had been without an AFC Lead for 8 months:
….. we remain committed to our Age Friendly Programme…….
I wish to advise that we have adapted our recruitment offer across the council and I am confident that our approach will work well in this service area. It has succeeded recently in other parts of the Council.
I trust this information is helpful to you and thank you once again for raising your concerns with us.
We have provided an agenda for the next Age-Friendly Communities Steering Committee meeting, due to reconvene on 24th July.
Age-Friendly Update on Engagement
The WHO describes 4 steps to create an Age-Friendly environment:
- Engage and Understand
- A Strategic Plan
- Act and Implement
Engagement is the first important step in the Age-Friendly journey. A significantly important part of engaging is promotion. This is a key element assigned to the Local Authority. Awareness across the council and voluntary groups will provide an active resource for AFC programmes.
The new AFC programme started over 18 months ago. Most Local Authorities are still in the initial ‘Engagement’ phase of their programme. Dave McKinney expressed the need for greater exposure to the AFC concept at a recent Forum Representatives meeting. He said awareness of AFCs was critical for support and success.
The evidence is that the approach to engagement for Age-Friendly Communities is best when it goes beyond surveys and consultations. The process should include time and space for relationship-building. Information and data are a vital part of the picture. So too are the relationships and bonds that allow the development of a co-creative approach and focus on shared outcomes.
Long-term collaboration with older people and local partners will provide a sound foundation. This will improve the planning, delivery, and evaluation stages of the Age-Friendly cycle. The engagement phase needs to build those relationships effectively.
Embedding an AFC Culture
Welsh Government provided £50K funding to each local Authority, from April 2022, to support the Age-Friendly Communities programme. Funding was for 3 years. This funding could support an Age-Friendly Lead officer over the period. Has this created a mindset that the Age-Friendly programme has a limited lifespan?
The initial process of promoting and raising awareness of AFCs has to lie with the Local Authority. The development can expand throughout the communities in the Borough. They can recruit other organisations and groups to expand the resources. Age-Friendly Communities refer to more than the whole borough. There is no limit to what the community should be. It could be a town or a street. The Guide “Making Wales a Nation of age-friendly communities“, gives some examples. COPA and the OPC Office co-produced it .
The target must be to embed the AFC Culture in the funded period.