Cardiff becomes first in Wales to gain Membership of WHO Age Friendly Global Network



Cardiff is the first authority in Wales to join the World Health Organization's Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities.


The Network was established in 2010 to connect cities, communities, and organisations worldwide, with the common vision of making their communities a great place to grow older.


The city's new membership status is a result of extensive collaboration with stakeholders across the city including Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, educational institutions, and third sector organisations, resulting in a dynamic action plan with an overall ambition of Cardiff becoming an Age Friendly City.

The achievement is evidence of the Council's commitment to meeting the needs of citizens as they grow older and follows the approval of the authority'sAgeing Well Strategy earlier this year, which focuses on how services can work together closely to support older people to stay active, connected, and livingindependently at home through strengths-based preventative services, high-quality sustainable care and the modernisation of existing services.

Recognition of older people as a respected and diverse population who should be enabled to participate in and contribute to all spheres of life, is central to the Age-Friendly action plan, which brings together various strategies developed in consultation with older members themselves.


The plan includes a series of commitments to older people, relating to dimensions of life such as housing, transport, and participation in valued activities. It outlines many fantastic initiatives: from ones already in place to future ambitions focussed on improving the lives of older people.


In her statement to Full Council this afternoon, March 17, Cllr Susan Elsmore, the Council's Cabinet Member for Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, said she was delighted to confirm the city's successful bid for Age Friendly City status.


Cllr Elsmore said: "It was clear from the application process to join the World Health Organization's Age-friendly Network that Cardiff is a great city in which to grow older - and the council wants to go further. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our work to cities and communities across the world and learn from them. We have made a real commitment to honouring the principle of the WHO network to learn from age-friendly practice elsewhere, and our ‘We Will' pledges set out commitments to ensuring we go from strength to strength as a place to grow older."


Cllr Elsmore explained how Cardiff's submission to the WHO flagged up the array of age friendly programmes, targeted activities and health initiatives that aim to make a positive difference to the lives of older people living in Cardiff. These include:


  • A commitment to deliver at least 728 new older person/care ready homes that meet the needs and aspirations of older people in the city by 2030, via the council's ambitious housing development programme.
  • The Herbert Protocol, a South Wales Police initiative which encourages the compilation of useful information relating to a vulnerable person, for use if they go missing.
  • The First Point of Contact Team, also known as the Pink Army, who have been invaluable during the pandemic, supporting older people's discharge from hospital to home, care and community settings.
  • A Dementia Friendly Cardiff website providing a ‘one-stop shop' of valuable information about services and support for people living with dementia.
  • A pen pal scheme that has joined together residents from three care homes and two schools to share their experiences of the pandemic.



Welsh Government 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 listening to, and working with, older people to design services and community support that enables older people to thrive.


"Older people make up a key part of our communities and our ambition is for an age friendly Wales which supports people of all ages to live and age well. We have supported local authorities to gain membership of the WHO's Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities, and it's wonderful that Cardiff have already achieved membership."


"Older People's Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said: "I'd like to congratulate Cardiff on reaching this important milestone in its journey towards becoming an age-friendly city, and I welcome this commitment to taking action to support people to age well.


"As a member of the global network, Cardiff now has new opportunities to share its experience, work with and learn from partners across the world, which will help to generate more new ideas about the ways we can support people to age well and ensure that the action delivered is as impactful as possible.


"I'm looking forward to continuing to work with and support Cardiff as plans are translated into action, as part of my wider work with local authorities throughout Wales to make our communities more age-friendly, and I am particularly looking forward to seeing increased opportunities for engagement, so that older people's voices and experiences are heard, understood and acted upon.


"Today's announcement is an important step forward and brings us closer to making our shared ambition of an age-friendly Wales a reality for older people."



To read the full statement, follow this link