By David Gledhill, Marketing and Communications Lead
Ageing Well Torbay has been working hard to ensure that the over 50-year-old population of the bay has a voice that is heard in all the right places
We feel very strongly that people are not part of the problem, but are part of the solution – they don’t just have issues and concerns they have knowledge, skills and life experience.
With that in mind we are about the launch the Torbay Over 50’s Assembly which will meet regularly in Brixham, Torquay and Paignton to discuss what is important to an ageing population.
Earlier this year we also launched the bid for Torbay to become ‘Age-friendly’, a status that is recognised by the World Health Organisation that seeks to ensure that organisations, businesses and groups all have a positive impact on the area in which we live.
At the core of all this work is the Age Positive Charter which has already been signed off by representatives of Torbay Council and the local NHS. Many more are expected to follow as the initiative gathers momentum.
Aspirations of the Age Positive Charter include:
- Challenging Ageism through actively identifying Ageism in work practices, strategies or services and making the required changes so that people are not excluded or discriminated against by virtue of their age.
- Engaging Older People in the co-production of a better future through involvement of the Assembly with service/strategy development, including initial consultations, service/strategy planning, review and re-design.
- Listening to older people (i.e. through engaging with the assembly or Forums), and including (the “voices” of older people) in decision-making processes for all business, services and groups who serve over 50’s in Torbay.
- Actively working with the Older Person’s Assembly, and relevant partners and evidencing a commitment towards achieving ‘Age Friendly Status’ for Torbay by 2022, and a commitment to maintaining the status once achieved.
- Commitment to improving communication, by the timely sharing of information in plain English, and in accessible formats, and welcoming the feedback or challenge from the Assembly and using it to inform decision making.
- Demonstrating commitment to services and practices which will reduce the number of older people who are lonely or socially isolated, and/or in financial poverty.
- Commitment to supporting and valuing the Older Persons’ Assembly after Ageing Well Torbay ceases in April 2021.
Age Positive Charter Key Commitments:
People are part of the Solution
- People don’t just have issues and concerns they have knowledge, skills and life experiences.
- Giving the Assembly or the “voices” of older people a place and a role in decision making processes, for all business, services and groups who serve over 50’s in Torbay
- Treating people as equal partners or stakeholders’ whether they are older citizens, or from private, voluntary, or statutory sector and working together to co-produce and co-design.
- All involved are accountable to each other and need to demonstrate a commitment to working together and resolving conflict.
- Businesses, statutory, third sector, community groups and individuals recognise an accountability to older people in Torbay through the Assembly.
- Communication is timely and information is shared in plain English, without jargon in accessible formats.
- Organisations make a commitment to listening to older people and keeping them updated and involved on everything which affects them, and demonstrate this commitment.
Age Friendly Status
- Achieving Age Friendly Status for Torbay is the central objective and commitment of the Positive Ageing Charter. The expectations around the 8 key areas of an Age Friendly Development plan will eventually be shared with organisations, business and groups who sign up to the Charter, so that they can identify the key areas in which their service or business could have a positive impact, and also let the assembly know how their activities, aims and outcomes contribute to those key areas.
Age Positive Charter – Values:
- Openness and honesty regarding level of participation and power of the assembly voice in planning, changes to services, and what resources exist and what’s available.
- Commitment to use all resources effectively and efficiently and to avoid duplication as much as possible.
- Creating a shift in culture – more enabling and removing barriers so that individuals and across sectors and departments are able to help each other or work more collaboratively
- Challenging current commissioning and moving towards collaborative commissioning, reducing competition, creating opportunities, and flexibility.
- Focus is strengths-based and positive.
- Voluntary, Charity and business sector need to step-up. Statutory agencies are not the only ones who can ‘bring something to the table’.
- Inclusivity – give everyone the opportunity to have a place to get involved.
Striving to achieve everything in the Positive Ageing Charter will make Torbay a better place to live and work not just for the over 50’s but for everyone. Young and old alike.