Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
County Roscommon Ireland
The Leas Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council Ivan Connaughton on behalf of Roscommon and its citizens signed the Age Friendly Communities Declaration at City Hall, Dublin on 27th November 2014. This Declaration (now known as the Dublin Declaration) was endorsed by the World Health Organisation – Global Network of Age Friendly Cities, Irelands Age Friendly Counties Programme and the international Federation on Ageing
Arising out of this commitment Roscommon’s Age Friendly Strategy was launched in December 2015. This plan acts as a blueprint for Roscommon as it sets out on the road to becoming an age friendly place. It contains specific commitments by agencies, service providers and older people’s organisations, often in collaboration, to implement agreed changes reflecting the priorities expressed by older people in the consultation process. The strategy was developed under the strategic direction of the Age Friendly Alliance, this group comprises the most senior decision makers from the key public, private and not-for-profit agencies involved in providing supports and services to older people. The Age friendly working group comprised of organisations providing services to older people in the county – across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors- has responsibility for the development and implementation of the actions laid out in the strategy. The Strategy is encompassed under High Level Goal 7: Inclusive Society in the County Roscommon Local Economic & Community Plan 2016 – 2021. Actions delivered to date include:
Collaboration has taken place in the area of transport where a mechanism has been provided for the measurement of the services provided by Local Link resulting in the identification and introduction of more targeted routes. This plays an important role in combating rural isolation by linking national transport routes and facilitating access to medical facilities both within the county and beyond. The Local Links travel service availed of the expertise of the Roscommon County Council Municipal District coordinators who assessed the accessibility of bus stops to ensure that they are accessible for older users and those with reduced mobility.
Age Friendly Banking
An important piece of work was conducted in respect of the role of banking telecommunications and resulted in the publication of a paper with actions in respect of this sector. The recommendations produced were presented to the relevant stakeholders during 2017.
Several intergenerational events have been successfully coordinated by Comhairle Na NÓg (Youth representative committee) and the Older Persons Network across the county. An Garda Síochána have held several events and awareness campaigns including the very successful annual Harvest Gathering.
Roscommon County Council has provided training for Engineering and Planning staff in appropriate Age Friendly practises in the universal design of Housing, Planning and the Public realm. Roscommon’s 6 Town Team committees and community representatives have also been given Age Wise and Ability Awareness training in 2018.
Boyle Age Friendly Town
The promotion of Boyle as the flagship age friendly town has seen positive impacts across the town. The 2016 census has shown that Boyle is in the top 3 towns in the county with an ageing demographic, with an average age of 41.6 years.
A subgroup of Boyle Town Team has been formed to address areas that were highlighted in a walk ability audit that was undertaken in the town. The exercise proved an invaluable mechanism of citizen engagement with participants coming from a broad spectrum across the community. Roscommon County Council is actively promoting the regeneration of the town and the Age Friendly ethos is being threaded through targeted actions in the town. Targeted actions have been developed based on customer feedbacks that have delivered a positive impact on the lives of older people in the area including:
• An Age Friendly Business initiative
• An Age Friendly Library Initiative
• A trusted tradesperson training and information initiative
• Age friendly seating has been installed in the pleasure grounds park area with plans in place to install more
• The Boyle 2040 Urban Rejuvenation Plan has been Age Friendly proofed and future development works planned in the town centre will ensure to take account of Age Friendly principals
• The Boyle Town Team Action Plan has been adapted to insure it is Socially Inclusive and Age Friendly
• A series of Civic Engagement and Awareness Raising initiatives have also taken place in the town
An official ceremony recognising Boyle as an Age Friendly Town will be held in 2018. It is then planned to roll the initiative out to other towns in Roscommon.
Overall the Age Friendly programme roll out has been very positive within the county it is hoped to widen the scope of the programme to include further towns in the coming years.