Creating Age Friendly Communities in the Wheatbelt
March 02, 2017 at 2:21 PM
The Creating Age Friendly Communities (CAFC) in Small Towns Project formed part of a holistic solution to address aged care issues across the region. The $2.53M Project is integral to the Wheatbelt Development Commission’s support for local governments to implement recommendations from the Central East Aged Care Alliance (CEACA) Aged Care Solution/s and the Wheatbelt Aged Support and Care Solutions (WASCS) Report.
The Wheatbelt Development Commission recently evaluated the success and impact of the CAFC Small Value Grants Scheme that funded 118 individual projects delivered by local governments. In partnership with Heartlands WA and the University of Western Australia local governments were surveyed to assess project development, community awareness, project implementation and audit tool training.
The CAFC Project achieved the key outcomes and outputs and the following additional benefits were identified:
- 100% of participating local governments believed their projects impacted other groups in the community in addition to older residents; 76% reported positive impacts to families, 67% to residents with mobility difficulties/disabilities and 61% to young people;
- 91% of local governments now have improved access to public buildings and 76% have improved access to shops and services;
- 82% of local government projects involved the community, either in the initial stages or prior to the project grant being available;
- 88% of local governments believe that the aged residents in their community are aware of the concept of creating age-friendly communities;
- 97% of the projects involved Shire Officers, 76% of the projects involved the community’s work crew members, 45% involved local contractors and 39% relied on outsourcing;
- 88% of the participating local governments were able to identify additional age friendly projects as a result of the audit toolkit; and
- 84% of the 42 Wheatbelt local governments were successful in completing the Age-Friendly Community Plans (compared to the State average of 50%
As noted above, the CAFC Projects had positive impact on communities with benefits for residents of all ages. The Shire of Wickepin commented that Johnson Park has created an intergenerational space. “The playgroup young mums...all use the equipment and the Park. The netball, football and hockey teams utilise the equipment as part of their training sessions.”
The Shire of Dowerin appreciated wheelchair access to the post office. “A gentleman in a wheelchair can now access the post office. Previously, post office staff would bring his mail outside for him. He can easily enter the post office, receive his mail and also do any shopping and socialise.”
The WASCS and CEACA Reports identified 4 key elements or ‘planks’ essential for facilitating healthy ageing in the Wheatbelt.
The CAFC in Small Towns Project directly aligns to the ‘Age Friendly Communities’ element, by promoting and facilitating Wheatbelt Local Governments to become more age friendly.
The Wheatbelt Development Commission would like to commend local governments for their commitment and implementation of the projects, investing in local infrastructure and continuing to work towards an age friendly Wheatbelt.
View the Small Value Grants Scheme Evaluation Highlights here…
Image Credit: Shire of Pingelly