Friday 15 December 2017

Ardee will be a model for 16 towns joining age-friendly initiative

ARDEE IS to become a model for other towns and cities hoping to emulate their success as one of the first Age Friendly Towns in Ireland.

A meeting of Ardee Town Council received a presentation and full report on the actions achieved from the initiative from Mary Deery, Louth Age-Friendly Project Manager.

Sixteen other towns are hoping to join the pioneering programme adopted by Ardee in 2010, and will receive the same presentation in the coming months.

'The vision for Ardee was to create Ireland's first Age Friendly Town and the best place in Ireland to grom older,' she explained.

'We aimed to achieve this by not slowing the town down, but by providing a choice of homes supported by a range of services and meeting places, as well as safety measures, to enable them to remain active, healthy and independent.'

She outlined how Ardee has an aging population, and by 2036, the population of people over 65 wil have doubled.

'We are served by excellent nursing homes, as well as a successful Active Retirement Group, however our plan also enabled older communitues to be mobile in a safe envrionment, five minutes walk or ten minutes cycle to essential services,' she said.

'Seating and toilets were also identified as the key needs, as well as suitable recreational facilities.'

Throughout the presentation, Ms Deery explained some of the challenges faced by the consultants prior to the changes implemented.

'High volumes of traffic run through the main street, and many of the side streets are narrow, so it was not always straight forward,' said Ms Deery.

'Some of the more successful projects included dropping footpaths for wheelchair use, and identifying enabled lands for homes and intergenerational living.'

Lessons were learned in creating the project, and Ms Deery praised the council members for their foresight and support over the years.

'We could have taken a do-nothing approach or the proacvtive approach we did, and it simply would not have been possible without the work of all involved,' she added.

'It is an example for other programmes due to the collaboration of the town council, the Tidy Towns group, the Active Retirement Group and the Retailers Association, and we are hoping they can act as a model for the larger Louth towns of Drogheda and Dundalk, as well as other Irish towns.'

It was unanimously agreed that the presentation could be adopted and used for other national projects.

Drogheda Independent

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