On 23rd November, the World Health Organisation (WHO) accepted Bristol’s application to become the 705th member of the Global Network of Age Friendly Communities. The network represents cities and communities across the world who are all committed to making their areas better for older people, which also has a positive impact on the community as a whole.
Bristol’s membership of the network represents three years’ worth of work from Bristol City Council, Age UK Bristol and Bristol Ageing Better, a partnership of organisations working to reduce social isolation and loneliness among older people.
Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees said, “Bristol being accepted to the Age Friendly Cities network is a restatement of our commitment to enable older people to feel safe, enjoy good health and continue to participate fully in society. I want to see Bristol as a better place for everyone to grow old and become a more closely connected society where people work together and support one another.”
Programme Director at Bristol Ageing Better, Adam Rees said, “This announcement builds on the commitment from Bristol City Council, local voluntary organisations and represents the voices of older people who have influenced Bristol’s Age Friendly strategy from the beginning. This is just the start of our journey to making Bristol truly age friendly.”
The concept of Age Friendly Cities was launched in 2007 by the WHO’s Age Friendly Cities Guide, which outlined the eight domains necessary to support older people living in cities. These domains are Transport, Civic Participation and Employment, Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Respect and Social Inclusion, Housing, Social Participation, Communication and Information and Community Support and Health Services.
Many of the projects funded by Bristol Ageing Better are Age Friendly; one example is the Rocking the Boat project, run by All-Aboard Watersports, who run intergenerational boat building activities. This project comes under the ‘Respect and Social Inclusion’ domain, tackling negative portrayals of older people through intergenerational interaction. Rocking the Boat Project Coordinator, Molly Singleton said, “This project provides opportunities for older people and young people to work together, not only building boats but also getting out on the water. At the end of 8 weeks, they have built boats, friendships and new skills. The project is completely free for anyone over 50 and those aged 16-24.”
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