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Guest Blog: Making Anglesey Age-Friendly

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In our latest Guest Blog, Sioned Young, Age Friendly Communities Development Officer at Anglesey Council, highlights the work she’s leading to help make communities across Anglesey more age-friendly. 

Hello, I’m Sioned Young, the Age Friendly Communities Development Officer at the Isle of Anglesey County Council. My role, which I was appointed to in September 2022, is funded by the Welsh Government and sees me leading on the Age-Friendly Anglesey work of ensuring that Anglesey is a place with no barriers to ageing well.

I’ve very much enjoyed the first six months in the role and the opportunity to work closely with the community to create an Age-Friendly Anglesey. Within such a short space of time our network of partners including community groups, charities and organisations involved within the work of creating an Age-Friendly Anglesey has surpassed 100 and is still growing.

Prior to joining the Isle of Anglesey County Council, I worked at local charity Age Cymru Gwynedd a Môn as a Community Hub Support Officer, and I feel my background in the third sector and supporting communities has been invaluable in my new post.

Within my role at Age Cymru Gwynedd a Môn we were jointly commissioned along with the local Community Voluntary Council Medrwn Môn to lead on an engagement programme in the community to better understand what could be done to make Anglesey a better place to grow old in. So, when I was appointed to my new role within the Isle of Anglesey County Council, I was excited to continue with the work and to action on the feedback shared within the engagement programme.

Some of the work I’ve led on since starting in my role has included:

The Anglesey Community Transport Directory is a handy digital and paper directory of all Community Transport schemes on the island including contact details, eligibility, and fees. The directory has proven very popular, with over 2,000 copies distributed throughout the island.

Working in partnership with our leisure service Môn Actif we arranged a series of 50+ Open Days within our leisure centres. The Open Days both enabled people to have a go at a variety of free leisure activities and socialise, but also featured information stalls from various organisations and charities supporting older people on Anglesey, enabling people to access information face-to-face rather than online or over the phone.

In partnership with Age Cymru Gwynedd a Môn we’ve re-established Older People’s Forums for the first time since the pandemic and listened to feedback from older people to pilot smaller, local, touring forums around the island – which have been very well received.

Other work includes pairing up with the Trading Standards department to deliver Scam Awareness Training in the community, the development of a Community Buildings Directory to help enable more people and services to engage with the community, amongst other projects and initiatives.

The incredible work being done by our communities to support the development of an Age Friendly Anglesey is also highly valued. In December 2022 we distributed grants to 18 voluntary groups and charities from the Age Friendly Anglesey Fund to develop a project to make their community more Age-Friendly. Projects we supported ranged from developing a community garden to establishing a Dementia singing group to keep-fit classes in the community.

Recently we welcomed the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and her team to Anglesey. The visit excitingly coincided with the Isle of Anglesey County Council, on behalf of the entire island, presenting our application to the World Health Organisation to join their Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. And we’re thankful for the support and guidance of the Older People’s Commissioner’s team when preparing our application.

As part of the Commissioner’s visit, we also held an Age-Friendly Anglesey – Ageing Well Conference where the partnership work done by our community to develop an Age-Friendly Anglesey was celebrated. The conference also enabled the valuable opportunity to network, learn from each other and to think ahead for the future.

I’m excited for the next steps for Anglesey as we join the WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. I believe we as an island have a lot to offer the network in terms of sharing best practice, but I’m equally enthusiastic to learn from other Age Friendly Communities across the world and continuing to support older people on Anglesey to age well.

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