UK Network of Age-friendly Communities 2022: A year in numbers
Age-friendly Communities across the UK have been working hard this year to make where they live better places to grow old in. Here we reflect on another year of progress towards an Age-friendly UK.
1.1 million more people live in an Age-friendly Community
Over the past year, we’ve welcomed five new Age-friendly Communities to the UK Network, meaning 1.1 million more people are now living in a place committed to being a better place for its ageing population.
In the space of a few months, new members had seen their places review the age-friendliness of their services and older people have their say on aspects of community life that matter to them.
“We’ve noticed the culture change. We have older residents ringing up now who are energised and galvanised to take part and lead things. One of our older residents is going to be our board co-chair." - UK Network member
With the addition of Cardiff, Carlisle, London Borough of Newham, Mid and East Antrim and South Tyneside, there are now a total of 23.4 million people living in an Age-friendly Community, across the UK.
310 people joined us to learn more about the Age-friendly Communities approach
In 2022, Ageing Better hosted three webinars that covered the basics of the World Health Organisation Age-friendly Communities approach.
Members working to be internationally recognised as 'Age-friendly' have been using the WHO framework to ensure older residents’ wants and needs are integrated into their local plans.
“We’ve had such fantastic feedback from people with disabilities that said ‘for the first time, we feel that we’ve been heard and that our voice has made a difference’.” - UK Network member
Look at the Ageing Better events page to sign up to our upcoming Introduction to Age-friendly Communities webinar.
50 chances to connect, support and inspire one another at our weekly online peer calls
Throughout 2023, there were over 50 meetings for UK Network members to come together to be inspired, share best practice and support one another on their age-friendly journeys. Topics included the UK’s first ever Sexual Health Charter, how Age-friendly Communities can make the most of GoodGym volunteers, and increasing confidence on public transport post-lockdown.
Good ideas spread fast across the UK Network through the weekly peer calls. Camden’s Warm Welcome approach has been adopted in Sheffield and various communities are developing their own Pension Credit uptake campaigns, having benefited from the learning of others.
“The sharing is wonderful. It’s not about ‘me, and mine’ it’s about ‘us and ours’.” - UK Network member
“It’s my favourite meeting of the week and I always come away feeling totally inspired.” - UK Network member
Participating in weekly peer call is one of the benefits of being in the UK Network of Age-friendly Communities.
67 colleagues working on Age-friendly came together for our UK Network conference
A highlight for many Age-friendly Communities this year was the ability to come together again in person.
Our Age-friendly Movement conference in July brought together colleagues from 37 communities. Members were excited by the opportunity to work jointly on key challenges, including amplifing underheard voices, and shaping our upcoming national campaign to end ageism.
We were delighted to hear that conversations on the day led to new initiatives being adopted, such as communities commiting to develop a local State of Ageing report and closer relationships across nations – including Sunderland joining Northern Ireland to share their Ageing Well Ambassador initiative.
“I'm proud to be playing a small part in the campaign to build an age-friendly movement.” - UK Network member
12 more months of growing the Age-friendly Movement
As well as coming together for national events, the 58 members of the Network have also been busy bringing people together in their communities in 2022. Age-friendly Communities have been making spaces locally to convene older people, key partners and their wider community – particularly around International Day of Older Persons – in order to make their places better places to age well in.
Lincolnshire welcomed 80 people to their first ever Age-friendly conference, Torbay saw over 2,250 attendees visit their Ageing Well Festival, and Oxfordshire brought together over 70 partners to think about age-friendly health and wellbeing.
“There was such a buzz and so much networking going on in the room, and such a great sense of gratitude for the ability to connect with one another.” - UK Network member
80 councillors signed up to learn about the role they could play in creating Age-friendly Communities
For many members, highlights in their year featured the political buy-in of local councillors for their age-friendly strategies. From championing the voice of older people, to advocating for dedicated age-friendly co-ordinators, the invaluable support of age-friendly councillors was felt by many community members in 2022. Ageing Better had the privilege of connecting with almost 100 local government representatives at this year’s Local Government Association conference, which happened over three days in Harrogate.
Read more about how local elected members help us all age better in our blog.