Development of what was the first age-friendly town in Ireland, through active and careful facilitation of (mostly) bottom up processes.
As part of the Louth Age Friendly County Programme, Louth County Council took the opportunity of making Ardee the first Age Friendly Town in Ireland when renewing its Local Area Plan in 2010. The vision included providing a choice of homes for older people supported by a range of services and meeting places in close proximity to enable them to remain active, healthy independent and contributing to their community. Desktop research was carried out followed by a stakeholder consultation with individuals and a multi-sectoral workshop where all community groups, businesses and public bodies were included. A submission was prepared by the Louth Older People’s Forum to the Local Area Plan public consultation process with key issues identified as:
1. The rapid growth of an ageing population
2. Housing for older people
4. Public Facilities
5. Recreation amenities
6. Economy and Employment
7. Town Centre
The implementation stage was captured in a review carried out by Louth County Council on behalf of the Louth Age Friendly Alliance and can be accessed at https://www.louthcoco.ie/en/services/communities/louth-age-friendly/ardee-age-friendly-town.pdf
The aim of the Ardee Age Friendly Town programme was to develop age friendly innovations in the physical, social and economic activity in the town and carry out a review whereby other towns in Ireland could follow.
• Political backing from the local authority
• Community animation by the local authority
• Multi-sector buy-in
• A multi-sectoral collaboration to identify the needs and working
together to deliver the results
Evidence of success
Age Friendly Ireland took the Ardee Age Friendly Town model and replicated it in 18 other towns in Ireland. Louth is now replicating the programme in its main town Dundalk
The following activities could be considered as contributing to the Social Participation theme.
· Making Arts and Cultural activities Age Friendly in Ardee
· The delivery of intergenerational programmes.
The housing theme was also addressed with the allocation of lands for purpose-built age-friendly housing.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Ardee Age Friendly town project has already shown replicability.
• 18 other towns in Ireland have followed the Ardee model.
• Louth County Council has used it when redesigning the Clanbrassil St area in Dundalk.
• The successful Ardee Rural Regeneration Development Fund application by LCC encompassed the Age Friendly actions still to be delivered in Ardee as part of the Category 2 design concept stage.
• Louth County Council representation on the Healthy Ireland national coordinators group raised the potential of taking the learning from the Louth experience on public realm design to assist delivery of actions in meeting the needs of older people, people with disabilities, young people, families and people with obese issues.
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