Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, in partnership with Ards and North Down Borough Council, hosted an ‘Age Friendly Conference’ at Lagan Valley Island recently to establish Age Friendly partnerships and discuss the needs of our ageing population.
The Lisburn and Castlereagh Age Friendly initiative is a collaboration between the Public Health Agency, the South Eastern Health Trust and the Belfast Health Trust to ensure that the council area is a great place to grow old and where older people are valued and respected.
The Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE, welcomed delegates to the conference, saying: “It is a great honour to host the Age Friendly Conference here in Lisburn. The older residents are an important part of our society and we need to ensure that through our Community Plan we listen and address their needs so they can lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.
“At times our older residents may feel isolated and that is a concern the council wants to address by ensuring access to key services within their communities. Through community planning we can improve our transport links, housing provision and look at our service delivery methods.”
Guest speakers, along with the Commissioner for Older People Northern Ireland, Mr Eddie Lynch, led an engaging and informative conference with inspirational entertainment provided by ‘Age on Stage’, a dance performance group for seniors aged 60 plus and based at the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn, and Lisnaskea Ladies Contemporary Dance Group who surprised the delegates with a flash mob dance.
Chairman of the council’s Strategic Community Planning Partnership, Alderman William Leathem, spoke about the trend of an ageing population in Lisburn and Castlereagh.
“It is predicted that our population aged 65 and over will increase by 31 per cent by 2025 and 53 per cent by 2030. With figures like these it is important that the council’s Community Plan is all-inclusive and considers the requirements of our older population to ensure they continue to feel part of our society.
“Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council works with many statutory and voluntary partners to help the ageing population in our area remain fit and they receive the appropriate support they need. The discussions that we had at the conference today and the ongoing work of the council’s Strategic Community Planning Partnership will ensure our older residents feel the council area is a suitable place for them to live. We will continue to work towards achieving Age Friendly City status, to join the World Health Organisation’s global network.”
The Mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council, Alderman Deborah Girvan, also joined the conference for discussions on how the Age Friendly initiative will be taken forward via the Community Planning Partnerships in Ards and North Down, as well as in Lisburn and Castlereagh.