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'More power' for Torbay's over 50s is coming

The group which runs the Ageing Well Torbay festivals, pictured, is behind the new 'age friendly status'

Torbay will become one of the few places in the UK to be awarded 'age friendly status'.

The Big Lottery Community funded project will see special over 50s assemblies created in Paignton, Brixham and Torquay from April.

Almost half of the population of Torbay is currently aged over 50 and the project aims to offer a stronger voice to the elderly.

Around the world 700 places have already received the designation, including 30 in the UK.

David Gledhill, from Ageing Well Torbay, said: "It is a process that can take up to three years, but has the backing of both Torbay Council and the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

"Age-friendly status means that the rapidly growing population of over 50-year-olds will have a voice and be part of the decision making process at a senior level.

"An Age Positive Charter has been drawn up and the Torbay Over 50's Assembly, which will have seats on the Torbay Health and Wellbeing Board, as well as other statutory bodies, will launch in April.

"Age-friendly is a World Health Organisation designation and is based on eight areas of importance to older people – environment, housing, health, respect and inclusion, communication, transports, outdoor spaces, and social participation.

"The World Health Organisation describes an age-friendly place as 'a world that enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treats everyone with respect, regardless of their age. It is a place that makes it easy for older people to stay connected to people that are important to them'.

Torbay Director of Public Health, Caroline Dimond, added: "This is a huge success for Torbay and demonstrates the commitment by the community and agencies to making sure that people keep in touch with other.

"We know this makes a huge difference to people’s health and wellbeing and in turn their quality of life. 

"This shows what Torbay is capable of and underlines why Torbay is such a wonderful place to live."

Ann Wagner Director of Strategy and Improvement for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said: "Supporting all our community to live well and age well is very important. 

"Torbay has shown how by working in partnership we can achieve real success."

Click play to hear Ageing Well Torbay's David Gledhill speaking to reporter Andrew Kay

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