Age-friendly Castle celebration marks global network membership


Music, dancing and a sense of celebration filled the grounds of Cardiff Castle today in a special event to mark Cardiff joining the World Health Organization's Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities.

The city became the first Welsh member of the network in March and celebrated the achievement in style with an official launch party today featuring performances from Only Men Aloud, Rubicon Dance and schoolchildren from Millbank Primary, Ely.

Assembled guests, including the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Graham Hinchey, Cardiff's Older Person's Champion, Cllr Norma Mackie, and Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan MS and some of our older citizens who access day services in the city enjoyed the sunshine and festive atmosphere at the event.

The city's membership of the WHO network, which was set up in 2010 to connect cities, communities, and organisations worldwide with the common vision of making their communities a great place to grow older, is a result of extensive collaboration with stakeholders across the city including Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, educational institutions, and third sector organisations.

In consultation with older members of the community, a dynamic action plan with an overall ambition of Cardiff becoming an Age Friendly City has been developed, which includes a series of commitments to older people, relating to many aspects of life such as housing, transport and participation in valued activities.

Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Older Person's Champion, Cllr Norma Mackie, said: "What a fantastic event at the Castle today to celebrate our membership of the World Health Organization's Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities. We are very proud to join like-minded communities around the world, all striving to improve the lives of older people. We are very much looking forward to working with World Health Organization colleagues and fellow network members to exchanges ideas and good practice that will enable us to ensure Cardiff is a great place to grow older.

"It can be very easy to sideline older people and disregard their needs and aspirations. But we believe older people can contribute to all spheres of life and have an important role to play in our city.

"We are committed to meeting the needs of citizens as they grow older and ourAgeing Well strategy sets out how we can support older members of the community to live well as they age, staying active and connected."

Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan, said: "I am delighted that Cardiff has become the first local authority in Wales to join the WHO's Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities. It is great to see Cardiff has listened to and is committed to working with older people to design services and community support that enables older people to thrive and contributes to our national vision of an age friendly Wales.


"I look forward to seeing how older people will benefit from the commitment to make Cardiff an age friendly city and a great place to grow old."


In a special video message shown at the event today, Thiago Herick of the World Health Organization's Age-friendly Cities and Communities programme said: "It's a great honour to have Cardiff as the first Welsh member of our global community, committed to becoming an age-friendly city. Huge thanks for the outstanding work of so many people involved in this cause.


"Cardiff is already leading the way, acting as an example and with the potential to contribute as a mentor for other cities and communities in Wales."


Older People's Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said: "It's great to see Cardiff celebrating its membership of the Global Network with a special event at Cardiff Castle today.


"This is an important milestone in making Wales an age-friendly nation and, as the first member of the Network from Wales, Cardiff now has new opportunities to showcase the action they are delivering on a global stage, and to work with and learn from partners across the world.


"I'm looking forward to continuing to work with and support Cardiff as plans are translated into action as they continue to play their part in making our shared ambition of an age-friendly Wales a reality for older people."