The huge contribution that older people make to community life needs to be celebrated and developed further, according to North Yorkshire’s new Older People’s Champion.
Cllr Caroline Dickinson, who has taken on the role for North Yorkshire County Council, said the council was working with older people and partner agencies to look at how older people can play an even greater part in the life of the county and to look at how North Yorkshire can become more age friendly.
We have been gathering feedback from older people about what is working and what can be improved to make North Yorkshire a great place to age well.
Cllr Dickinson was speaking last Friday to mark the International Day of Older Persons, using it to highlight the work already underway in the County to encourage and support older people to lead healthy and independent lives.
She said: “In North Yorkshire older people are often the glue of our communities: volunteering, helping others, looking after future generations, making a huge contribution to our community life.
“Our older people have a wealth of knowledge and life experience and we must harness that; just because we are over 65 doesn’t mean that we reach for our slippers and knitting needles, we all have lots to give.”
Among many events around the county, Cllr Dickinson had invited older residents to Northallerton Town Hall for a cup of tea and a slice of cake in celebration of the day as part of an Age-friendly Communities initiative in partnership with Hambleton District Council, and Northallerton Town Council.
A number of local agencies, including Citizens Advice Bureau, Hambleton Community Action, Age UK, North Yorkshire Sport, the County Council and others also attended to provide information and advice on relevant services.
North Yorkshire was among the first rural areas to sign up to the Age-friendly Communities programme which is a growing movement to develop places where people of all ages are able to live healthy and active lives.
“Putting older people at the heart of our decision making is already a major commitment for the County Council and our partners,” said Cllr Dickinson.
“We are also continuing to develop services with an emphasis on prevention, and helping people to live more independent, fulfilling lives for as long as possible.”
“Our flagship programmes like Stronger Communities, Warm and Well, Living Well and Extra Care support people by strengthening their social networks and by enabling them to live in their own homes in the heart of their communities, with help available when it is needed.
“I would like to support the development of more Older Persons Forums and groups, so that now people are able to get out and about more we can work with partner organisations like North Yorkshire Sport to develop more activities such as exercise classes, walking football, dancing and boccia.”