Torbay is to become one of only 30 places in the UK to achieve Age-friendly Status.
Torbay, made up of Brixham, Torquay and Paignton has been accepted to join the 700 places around the world that have already received the coveted designation.
It is a process that can take up to three years, but has the backing of both Torbay Council and the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and has been put forward as part of the legacy of the Big Lottery Community Funded ageing Well Torbay (AWT) programme.
Age-friendly status means that the rapidly growing population of over 50-year-olds will have a voice and be part of the decision making process at a senior level.
Ageing Well Torbay was one of three to be accepted as part of the UK Network of Age-friendly communities monitored by Ageing Better on behalf of the World Health Organisation.
As part of the bid for Age-friendly Status AWT have been consulting with over 50’s in the Bay which makes up just short of 50% of the community to find out what they want and need to make Torbay a better place to live and grow older in.
As a result, an Age Positive Charter has been drawn up and the Torbay Over 50’s Assembly, which will have seats on the Torbay Health and Wellbeing Board, as well as other statutory bodies, will launch in April.
Age-friendly is a World Health Organisation designation and is based on eight areas of importance to older people – environment, housing, health, respect and inclusion, communication, transports, outdoor spaces, and social participation.
The World Health Organisation describes an Age-friendly place as: “A world that enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treats everyone with respect, regardless of their age. It is a place that makes it easy for older people to stay connected to people that are important to them”.
Ageing Well Torbay Programme manager, Sue McDermott said: “This is a fantastic achievement. Just over a year ago we held a big vision event with local councillors, key organisation and people over 50 to talk about designing the future and there was overwhelming support for gaining Age-friendly status.
“Since then we have been taking this vision forward, and this step is recognition of the all the hard work that has been done by so many people since then.”
Torbay Director of Public Health, Caroline Dimond, said: “This is a huge success for Torbay and demonstrates the commitment by the community and agencies to making sure that people keep in touch with other.
“We know this makes a huge difference to people’s health and wellbeing and in turn their quality of life. This shows what Torbay is capable of and underlines why Torbay is such a wonderful place to live.”
Ann Wagner Director of Strategy and Improvement for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said:
“We are so pleased that Torbay has achieved this success. Supporting all our community to live well and age well is very important. Torbay has shown how by working in partnership we can achieve real success.”