Above: L-R Cork County Council’s Tim Lucey, Cork Age Friendly County Co-Ordinator Aileen Hurley, Mayor of The County of Cork Cllr Seamus McGrath and Chairperson Cork County Older Persons Council Micheal O’Sullivan.
This week, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Séamus McGrath, launched the Cork County Age Friendly Town Programme initiative. A joint initiative between Cork County Council and the Cork County Age Friendly Alliance, the Age Friendly Towns Programme sets out to significantly improve the quality of life for older adults living in the towns and to engage with older people in shaping their communities. The current programme will build on the success of Kinsale as an Age Friendly Town. In 2014, Kinsale was one of eight towns selected nationally and the only town in Cork to become Age Friendly.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor McGrath commented, “Ageing is a matter that will affect us all. As life expectancy increases, we as a society must adapt in a matter that provides older people with the physical, economic and social opportunities to ensure they can enjoy the very best quality of life. The development of an age friendly society and age friendly town will be a major step in achieving this.”
The Age Friendly Towns Programme involves profiling the town, consulting with older people, key agencies and services leading to the development of an Age Friendly Town Plan. Subsequent engagement with older people ensures the successful delivery of these plans. The Age Friendly Town Plan will now be expanded across three towns in County Cork, one each in North, South and West, with the idea being to support a network of Age Friendly Towns across the County.
Also speaking at the launch, Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Mr. Tim Lucey spoke of the opportunities available through the initiative, “The Age Friendly Towns Programme is a significant step in how we as a County plan for older people. A primary objective of an age friendly County is a place where older people can stay living in their own homes and communities, lead healthy and active lives and are valued contributors to the lives of people in their communities. Age Friendly Towns will enable Cork to be an excellent place in which to live, work, enjoy live and grow older.”
Chairperson of the Cork County Older Persons Council, Michael O’Sullivan and Chair of the Kinsale Age Friendly Town Steering Committee Dermot Ryan also spoke of the opportunities available through the Age Friendly Towns Programme and how small improvements were making big differences.
Mayor McGrath went on to say, “Everyone hopes that as they grow older they will be supported to stay in their own home, be listened to, be able to work or volunteer, be able to enjoy a good social life and have access to information and healthcare. Neighbourliness, a sense of belonging, feeling safe, feeling valued, these are things that everybody wants in their lives. The Age Friendly Towns Programme is a proven, cost-effective way of making this a reality for every member of the community.”
The Age Friendly Programme is seeking interested groups to submit applications for selection as the next Age Friendly Town. Funding of €5,000 will be made available to support the introduction of age friendly initiatives in the towns with administrative supported provided by the Cork County Age Friendly Programme. Criteria that will support a successful application will include the availability of an engaged volunteer group with ideas for age friendly projects, the commitment of a named champion amongst the group to drive the process and the willingness of local key professionals/agencies to participate in the consultation, planning and implementation process.
Applications can be made to the Age Friendly Programme office and application forms and other details are available by email from firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 021 4285900. Closing date for receipt of applications is January 31, 2017.