An Age-friendly update


During the autumn of 2021, BVSC in conjunction with Birmingham City Council and stakeholders from across the city will be submitting an application to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for recognition as an Age-friendly City and membership of the WHO's global network of Age-friendly Cities.

The Age-friendly City work is progressing nicely.

Following the survey we did, we have hired a consultant called Alun Severn of Third Sector ServicesWe have identified specific priorities and actions that we believe should shape our city now and in the future. This has been done with reference to the eight domains for Age-friendly Cities as identified by the WHO; for ease and convenience, however, 'civic participation' and 'communication and information' have been combined because we found there to be significant overlap between these. The domains we have used are therefore as follows:

1. Outdoor spaces and buildings.
2. Transportation.
3. Housing.
4. Social participation (connecting with others).
5. Social inclusion (being respected, treated well and included).
6. Civic participation (taking part, information, having a say, working).
7. Community support and health services.

Our vision builds on initial discussion workshops with older people, the findings of a public survey and continuing discussion and debate with partners and key stakeholders. It is informed by the ambitions and priorities of the Birmingham Older People's Programme (BOPP) and Integrated Care System (ICS). It reflects the national crisis in the health and social care system and the need to affect long-term behaviour change that can contribute to addressing this; it also builds on the progress made in Birmingham over the past seven years in addressing loneliness and social isolation amongst older people and in building local networks of support.

Most importantly, this vision reflects older people's desire:

  • To be able to live independently for longer, with access to local, community-based health and wellbeing provision that supports this aim.
  • For more Age-friendly communities where mutuality and support when needed are the default position.
  • For a fundamental shift in public perception so that older people cease to be regarded as a burden and instead are acknowledged as fully participating in and contributing to society at all levels.

We are drafting a plan and proposal together with Birmingham City Council. The details of this plan, once confirmed, will be shared widely. The application will be sent to the World Health Organisation (WHO) by the end of 2021!

Alun Severn said: "I'm delighted to say that BVSC has engaged Third Sector Services to help develop the Age-friendly City application that we will submit to the World Health Organisation sometime during the early autumn. The submission will be a partnership between BVSC, Birmingham City Council and other stakeholders in the city. Having just begun to analyse the findings of the Age-friendly survey that BVSC carried out a month or so back, I can see that this is going to be very interesting work indeed — as well as an opportunity to ensure that Birmingham takes its place amongst the growing global network of Age-friendly cities." 

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