Newcastle - An Age Friendly City

1. Background

In Autumn 2011 Newcastle renewed its commitment to making the city a great place in which to grow old.   The city engaged with the WHO Global Age Friendly City programme and strengthened the political leadership for the programme by creating an age friendly city portfolio, which has cross party support.

Age Friendly City is a cross cutting theme in Newcastle’s Wellbeing for Life Strategy (www.wellbeingforlife.org.uk/our-strategy) which is further evidence of the commitment of partners to addressing this agenda. 

Newcastle already has a history of working on ageing issues and has strong foundations in partnership working, engagement of older people and world class academic research.  It has also participated in national programmes (e.g. Better Government for Older People 1998-2000) and European programmes (i.e. WHO European Healthy Cities – Healthy Ageing SubNetwork).

2. Newcastle's Vision and Approach

Our Vision

Newcastle is a world-leader in creating a city in which people live their lives to their fullest potential and age well.  

Our Approach 

We are developing radically different thinking about how we respond to the reality of our changing demography by:

  • taking a life course approach to framing and meeting the needs/aspirations of citizens;
  • taking account of the changing age profile of the city when planning for the future; 
  • taking an asset based approach to the role of older people in the city;      
  • taking the indignity and dependency out of the way some people experience old age.

3. Rationale and Principles

The rationale for Newcastle’s initiative to become an age-friendly city is based on two key documents. They are:

4. The Age Friendly City Group

Newcastle has established an Age Friendly City partnership group to take this work forward.  The role of the Group is to:

Provide leadership on making Newcastle an age-friendly city and ensures that key strategic initiatives in the city take account of the implications of demographic change;

  • Act as a resource of knowledge and expertise on ageing issues;
  • Provide access to mentors/partners/alliances;
  • Act as a platform for innovation

  It works at: 

  • Strategic level (leadership; influence; challenge)
  • Developmental level (catalyst and innovation)
  • Grassroots level engaging the general public (engagement/co-production).

The members of the group are:

Age UK Newcastle:

Lynne Johnson - Chief Executive

Elders Council of Newcastle

Mary Nicholls – Chair

Newcastle City Council:

Ann Schofield – Deputy Cabinet Member for Age Friendly City

Colin Williams - Head of Resilience, Prevention and Early Intervention, Wellbeing, Care and Learning Directorate 

Newcastle Clinical Commissioning Groups:

Karen Neilsen - GP, NHS Newcastle North and East CCG 

Chris Drinkwater -  NHS Newcastle West CCG

Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age at Newcastle University:

Graham Armitage – Assistant Director, Changing Age

Lynne Corner – Director of Engagement, Changing Age

University of Northumbria – Design School:

Matthew Lievesley – Design Manager, The Centre for Design Research

The Group is chaired by Cllr Ann Schofield, who holds the ‘age friendly city’ portfolio, which demonstrates the high level of political commitment and profile of this initiative in the city.

5. Work Programme

The Age Friendly City Group has been reviewing current policy and service provision in the city and identifying where further work is needed to meet our aspirations to become an age friendly city.  There is a wealth of activity on ageing in the city, which is being delivered by a range of partners.  Updates on this activity are captured in a regular Age Friendly City Bulletin.

The Age Friendly Group  also identifies strands of work where it acts as a catalyst for new partnerships and innovation.  On example of this is our work on the Built Environment.

6. Networks

Newcastle’s Age Friendly City programme welcomes the opportunity to share learning by engaging with others working on the ageing agenda.  Our networks include:

7. Useful Links

For information about the work of partners in Newcastle see:

      Age Concern Elders Council