Age Friendly and the Big Plan

Positive Ageing Month - October 2020

A month-long festival of events and activities for older people, celebrating the contribution older people make to their communities and to the Borough of Ards and North Down.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 and the current restrictions in place to keep people safe, we are unable to bring everyone together this year. Instead, we have worked in partnership to bring you an online calendar of free events: from exercise classes to cookery demonstrations, health messages to discussion panels and even a virtual Tea Dance!

Full event details and information on how to register to take part, can be found in the Positive Ageing Month booklet, which can be downloaded from the section at the bottom of this webpage.

There is also a survey going live on 12 October to find out your thoughts on how “age friendly” your local area is.  This survey will be used to help us move forward and ensure that we live up to the vision of Ards and North Down being “A great place to live and grow older” -  we would really appreciate your input at

You can also take part in one of the online consultation workshops: details can be found at

We hope you enjoy Positive Ageing Month 2020.

Age Friendly and the Big Plan

Ards and North Down’s Strategic Community Planning Partnership agreed to work towards the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Age Friendly Status, and in doing so establish an Age Friendly Alliance. Ards and North Down’s Age Friendly Strategy provides a framework to help make our Borough a great place to grow older and an area in which everyone, regardless of age, is valued and respected. It provides the structure for cross-sector cooperation, which is essential to improve the quality of life of our older population. The Strategy is framed around the eight Age Friendly domains as prescribed by WHO:

  • Outdoor spaces and buildings
  • Transport
  • Housing
  • Social participation
  • Respect and inclusion
  • Civic participation
  • Communication and information
  • Community and health

Ards and North Down’s Strategic Community Planning Partnership is responsible for monitoring the impact of the Big Plan. The Age Friendly Strategy and Action Plan is a sub-plan of the Big Plan and its impact will also be monitored by the Strategic Partnership. All members of the Strategic Partnership, and the Age Friendly Alliance, are responsible for its implementation and success.

Why the need to be Age Friendly?

Ards and North Down has an aging population meaning that the demographic profile will change significantly over the next 10-20 years. The number of older people aged 65+ is projected to rise in Ards and North Down, from around 31,000 in 2014 to around 50,000 by 2030. The number of older people ages 85+ is anticipated to more than double from just under 4,000 in 2014 to about 10,000 by 2039.

The shift in age structure, as more people live for longer, means that retirement, pensions and other social benefits, along with healthcare requirements, tend to extend over longer periods of time. In short, our society needs to plan for the needs of a much larger older population. This is not something that can wait. This is a pressing challenge that requires a thoughtful and comprehensive response.

It is important that organisations designing and delivering public services take account of these changes to ensure that future services are fit for purpose.

Ards and North Down’s Age Friendly Strategy and Action Plan 2019-2022

The Age Friendly Action Plan 2019- 2022 contains actions that will enable Age Friendly Alliance members to work towards the aspirations set out within this Strategy. The actions with this document are constantly under review, including proposed leads and potential support organisations, and will be updated and added to over the lifespan of the Strategy.