Programme lays out a vision for growing older

A PROGRAMME of events for older residents in Northumberland has been given the thumbs-up.

The Ageing Well project is being run to help Northumberland County Council develop the area as a good place to grow older.

Working with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the council and other agencies have held a number of events, including pilot projects in Wooler and Ashington, to see what older people in the county want to see more of, and what information they need.

And at a recent talk in Alnwick, Coun Anthony Murray, who has been working on the Wooler pilot project, said: “It has been quite interesting to see what people have to say.

“We have found that the biggest problems in rural areas in the north and west of the county is the transport to allow people in the outlying communities to get to what is on in our towns as it is impossible to take everything to the outlying areas.

“You can’t rely on public transport, the cash limitations are going to continue and we have got to look carefully at community transport in rural areas to make facilities more available in the sticks, therefore encouraging people to live in the rural areas.

“I think one of the important things is to have community leaders in all parts of the county – rural and urban – to spread the message about what is available and how it can be accessed.

“We hope that the events we have had in Wooler and Ashington will be rolled out across the county.

“As far as it goes I think the events have been very successful.”

A host of different events have taken place, including a Be Happy Be Healthy session, your money, leisure services for older people and more.

Coun Ian Lindley, executive member for Northumberland County Council’s adult care and well-being, said: “Some of our older people are actively involved in activities within their local communities and many have a great deal of talent, experience and knowledge which then can pass on.

“They have told us that it can be difficult to keep informed about changes in services and activities, especially those living in rural areas.

“Our vision is for all our older and disabled people to be able to live life to the full and this involves making Northumberland a good place to live and grow old.

“We want our residents to lead a happy, healthy, fulfilling life and to stay as active as they wish.

“Being involved in their communities gives everyone a sense of belonging and well-being.

“The Ageing Well programme aims to provide a good flow of information as well as bringing local people, their communities, the voluntary sector and other organisations together to enable services to be planned in a way that they meet the needs of Northumberland residents.”