The Age-friendly Belfast Charter

Signing up to the Age-friendly Belfast Charter is (L-R) Gordon Milligan, Translink Chief HR & Corporate Services Officer, Deborah McConnell, Workplace Campaigns Manager with Business in the community, Elma Greer, Healthy Ageing Coordinator, Mary Morrison, Chair of the Greater Belfast Seniors Forum and Terry Butler, Accessibility Officer with Translink.

Press Release   

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Make Belfast a city where older people live life to the full

The Belfast Strategic Partnership (BSP) Age-friendly Belfast team recently launched its Age-friendly Belfast Charter, asking Belfast organisations to sign up to help make it easier for older people to use services across the city. Translink were the first organization to sign-up to the charter.

The charter has been produced in response to older people in Belfast, who highlighted four key areas set out in the Charter:

1. Customer Care – older people would like staff in stores to be friendly, polite and give them extra time when needed
2. Communication – information on services should be straightforward and easy to find. Older people should be visible in advertising and depicted positively
3. Accessibility and signage – older people should be able to move easily around premises
4. Valuing an ageing workforce – older staff have training opportunities and support to stay in the workplace.

Signing up is easy. Here are three simple steps:

1. A senior member of your organisation signs the charter agreement (see Charter for details) and returns to the Age-friendly Belfast team.
2. Your organization is issued with a certificate and sticker to display.
3. Feedback to the Age-friendly Belfast team should be provided on a regular basis.
Encouraging all Belfast organisations to sign-up to the charter, Healthy Ageing Coordinator, Elma Greer, said: “We are very positive about this charter –we feel that it will make a real difference to older people in Belfast through organisations taking some simple actions to remove barriers to inclusion. I would encourage all organisations to sign up now and help to make Belfast a city were older people live life to the full.”

She continued: “Signing up to the standards will also help organizations through improving customer care. Older people tend to be loyal customers. An age-friendly business can attract and keep customers within a large and expanding demographic.”

The Age-friendly Belfast team is working with a range of partners to implement the charter.

Gordon Milligan, Translink Chief HR & Corporate Services Officer, said:

“We want to ensure our services meet the needs of everyone including older people.  By signing the Age Friendly Belfast Charter we are demonstrating our commitment to providing services that offer accessibility, excellent customer care and high quality passenger information.

“Many of the service enhancements we have made over recent years have been welcomed by our more senior passengers such as fully accessible bus and rail stations; fully accessible buses and trains; and all Metro vehicles will soon be fitted with Audio Visual displays.

“In addition, we ensure timetable information is available in a range of formats such as large print and our own publicity material often depicts older people to illustrate their importance to our business. Over 2000 of our drivers are trained in dementia awareness as well as training to meet the needs of older people.”

“We realise the important role public transport plays in the lives of many older people across Northern Ireland and we will continue to work hard to ensure we offer attractive services for everyone.”

The Age-friendly Belfast Charter can be viewed at: www.makinglifebettertogether.com

Further Information: For all media enquiries please contact Debbie McGrory, Communications Officer, Belfast Health Development Unit on 028 9050 2073 or email debbie.mcgrory@bhdu.org

For further information on the Age-friendly Belfast Charter please contact the Age-friendly Belfast team, Belfast Health Development Unit by email:  elma.greer@bhdu.org or anne.ross@bhdu.org Telephone 028 9050 2073.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Belfast Strategic Partnership (BSP) was established in February 2011 to address life inequalities, which are significant across Belfast and can be mapped against deprivation indicators. It is a multi-sectoral partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast City Council and the Public Health Agency.

2. The Age-friendly Belfast team worked with a range of partner organisations to produce this charter, which included: Translink, Business in the Community, Age NI, Alzheimer’s Society, Danske Bank, Belfast City Council and the Greater Belfast Seniors Forum.

3. The Age-friendly Belfast team is supported by the Belfast Health Development Unit, who will take responsibility for the successful implementation of this Charter. Age-friendly Belfast is part of The World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities involving 258 cities and communities from across the world.

4. Mary Morrison is Chair of Greater Belfast Seniors Forum, a citywide forum for older people and intergenerational programmes.

5. To view the Age-friendly Belfast Charter visit:

www.makinglifebettertogether.com