Welsh Government
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Launch of second phase of Older People’s Strategy

Deputy Minister for Social Services Gwenda Thomas has today Thursday, 13 March launched phase two of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Strategy for Older People at the Living Longer/Living Better conference at the Marriott Hotel, Cardiff.

The second phase will build on the achievements of the first phase, which has seen the introduction of popular schemes such as free bus travel and free swimming for older people, as well as the appointment of a Commissioner for Older People.

Originally launched in 2003, the first phase of the strategy aimed to raise the profile of older people’s needs and ensure that their views were sought in the development and delivery of local services.

It has been successful in achieving that aim with strong support from older people and age organisations. The strategy has also been recognised internationally as best practice for the way in which older people have been engaged in the decision making process.

The new phase of the strategy, from April 2008-2013, will focus on a range of key strategic areas including continuing to improve the health and well-being of older people and ways of enabling them to stay independent and active for longer.

Gwenda Thomas said:

Older people now have the opportunity to live life to the full and are making an invaluable contribution to their families and their communities.

There are of course many challenges ahead. We must, for example, shed the stereotypes that surround older people, address poverty amongst pensioners, make life long learning a reality for more and increase economic activity.

'One Wales’ strongly signals our commitment to developing a Wales that is inclusive and offers equity in opportunity. For older people living in Wales this is particularly significant.

We are already on the right road, with the introduction of schemes such as free bus passes and free swimming for Older People and establishing the ground-breaking ‘made-in-Wales’ Commissioner for Older People.

But addressing the implications of an ageing Wales is not a quick fix - and one of the real challenges for the strategy over its next phase will be to evolve our approach so that issues about ageing and older people are mainstreamed.

Local Authorities and other partners, including the voluntary sector, were originally allocated £13million to ensure that the first phase of the strategy was effectively implemented. An additional £7 million for the next 3 years has now been added to this amount, making a total investment of £20 million, to ensure the effective implementation of the Strategy.

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