Assembly invests £3.4m to implement older people’s strategy

Deputy Minister for Social Services Gwenda Thomas has allocated a £3.4 million funding package to support the second phase of the Assembly Government’s Older People’s Strategy. £1.8m will go towards the running of the Commissioner for Older People’s office – the independent champion for older people in Wales.

All Local Authorities in Wales and other partners including the voluntary sector will share of £1.651m to implement the Older People’s  Strategy at a local level thus enable older people to have their voices heard.

Gwenda Thomas said:

“I am delighted to be allocating this funding package of £3.4 million   for this financial year.  The funding is directed  at  addressing  the recommendations made in The  Strategy for Older People in Wales to  encourage Local Authorities and  the Voluntary  Sector in Wales to  take a strategic approach to older people’s issues, tackle  age discrimination and plan  for an ageing society in our communities.

“Together Local Authorities, the Voluntary Sector and the Commissioner for Older People continue to be at the heart of driving the Strategy forward. Although there are many challenges ahead I am confident that with our hallmark partnership approach further progress will be made this year.”

Mrs Thomas continued:

“In developing and implementing The Strategy for Older People we have been careful to ensure that it is based on firm and robust evidence. Last year, we launched the UK’s first ‘Older Peoples Wellbeing Monitor for Wales’ to provide a comprehensive picture of wellbeing for people aged 50+ living in Wales. It has given us reliable and up to date information on older people’s wellbeing in Wales and raises awareness of the issues that need to be tackled across Wales.

“We all know that older people are a growing and important sector of the population and it is essential that we have accurate information so that we can prepare for a fully integrated society here in Wales.”

Wales has taken the lead in addressing the benefits and challenges of an older demographic society and has been recognised internationally for its work in this field.  In a recent publication by the Institute for Public, Policy and Research,  ‘Policies for Peace of Mind? Devolution and older age in the UK’ they reported:

“The Welsh approach seems to be the most coherent long-term commitment to improving the position of older people of any administration in the UK in the last decade. The Welsh Strategy appears the most likely of any to ensure a continuing high profile for older people’s issues across many policy areas and at a local level.”