Monthly Archives: July 2018

Age Friendly Cheshire

Cheshire West and Chester is taking steps to become a better place to grow older

Cheshire West and Chester has joined a worldwide network of communities committed to becoming better places for people of all ages to grow older.

The World Health Organization has confirmed Cheshire West and Chester borough as a member of the WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. The network promotes age-friendliness around the world and has 600 members across 38 countries worldwide, representing over 190 million people.

Cheshire West and Chester has also been welcomed as a member of the UK Network of Age-friendly communities, a network committed to promoting healthy and active ageing and creating great places to live across the UK.

Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, the UK Affiliate lead for the network, said: “Communities must be inclusive of people of all ages and abilities. We’re delighted Cheshire West and Chester has joined a growing movement of communities working to ensure everyone has an enjoyable later life.”

In Cheshire West and Chester, the number of over 65s will increase by 46% to more than 100,000 by 2035. The number of people aged over 85 will more than double, to almost 20,000. Many people are living with complex health conditions and there are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK. We want to ensure living longer is matched by living more fulfilling lives by ensuring that people stay connected to the community.

Cllr Sam Dixon, Leader of the Council said: “Ensuring that older people and adults who may need additional support, are able to lead fulfilled and independent lives is a council priority. The age-friendly movement provides a positive focus for working together with older people to develop an age-friendly culture. We want to unite people across the borough with a common aim; creating a borough that is more compassionate and inclusive for people of all ages. I would encourage everyone to get involved, to help make our borough more age-friendly and inclusive and a better place to live.”

The approach to becoming age-friendly is being developed with, and shaped by, our residents and communities. Participating organisations include Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Older Peoples Network, Brightlife, Brightlife’s Older People’s Alliance, NHS West Cheshire and Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Groups, Age UK Cheshire, The University of Chester and the Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, Cheshire Community Action and the Dementia Action Alliance.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, said: “Becoming part of the Global and UK Networks is supported by the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board and supports our aim to improve everyone’s quality of life. The networks are an opportunity to work together to change attitudes and value the unique contribution everyone has to make regardless of age.”

To play your part in making your local community and the borough a great place to grow older and become part of the ‘Age Friendly West Cheshire Network’ get in touch at: InclusiveCommunities@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

To find out more about Age Friendly Communities visit:

Age-friendly World: www.extranet.who.int/agefriendlyworld/who-network/

UK network of Age Friendly Communities: www.ageing-better.org.uk/age-friendly-communities and www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/the-facts-on-loneliness/

Kate Blakemore’s Bright Stars

“It has always been my vision to create a community for women where they can access support. I have been surprised at how much the mentoring relationships help the older women who have lost support networks they might have built up through their children, no longer meeting other women on the school run or at toddler groups. There are fewer social groups for them and they sometimes wonder where they fit into society. Brightlife has given many of them a new avenue to make new friends as well as making a difference to someone else’s life.”

Kate Blakemore runs Motherwell, a registered charity which supports the mental health and wellbeing of women, primarily mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds. Kate has received Brightlife funding for a mentoring programme where women over 50 mentor younger women who have had their children taken from their care.

“I had a lot of interest from older women wanting to help younger women going through difficulties to help share their experience and provide them with support. The mentoring relationship is long-term over a couple of years so that trust is built up and a deep relationship forms. This can be life changing for both women.”

The whole concept of Motherwell is women supporting one another through a range of different initiatives, such as counselling, peer support, workshops and the mentoring. The mentor is a constant in the each other’s lives for at least two years –so that a strong relationship built on trust is made. The mentor works on changing that Mother’s life and mental health through the inter-generational support. Many don’t have relationships with their own families and have no-one else to turn to for advice and guidance – the relationships have helped the younger women in all aspects of their lives, getting some of them back to work and others to better health.

International Women’s Day is a big event in Kate’s life after she launched Motherwell on the day four years ago. To Kate it provides the chance to celebrate the achievements of women and encourage one another to believe in themselves and try new things. When asked how it feels to be considered an amazing woman, Kate said: “It is really humbling to be recognised – I don’t see myself as amazing. I have volunteered in many different aspects of life and I just want to encourage other women to believe in themselves and just go for it!”

Interview by Kate Cousens in celebration of International Women’s Day 2018

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