Freo continues to shine as an age-friendly city
The City of Fremantle has continued to offer support and services to local seniors despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of many regular activities.
The City’s first Age Friendly City plan was adopted in 2011, with an updated plan for 2019-24 endorsed by Fremantle Council in April last year.
Through the Age Friendly City Plan 2019-2024 the City aims to decrease loneliness, increase social participation and volunteering, provide intergenerational and cross cultural activities and improve communication on opportunities for residents over the age of 55.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the COVID-19 pandemic meant the City had to come up with some novel approaches to offering support to our seniors.
“The City offers a wide range of activities that are designed to reach out to seniors and keep them active and engaged as valued members of our community,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“Over the past year we’ve continued to provide a host of low-cost or free activities, including the Wanjoo Lounge at the library, Come and Try programs, community forums, social dancing and in-home library services.
“We’ve also run programs catering specifically for seniors as part of our regular services at the leisure centre, library, The Meeting Place, the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre and the Fremantle Arts Centre.
“Unfortunately the government restrictions introduced from March due to COVID-19 resulted in cancellation or postponement of a lot of regular activities, but some creative thinking meant we were still able to offer support to seniors through things like the Neighbour to Neighbour program, ramping up our Homebound library service and offering IT support.”
Other Age Friendly City highlights over the past 12 months include the launch of the Memory Café at Fremantle Arts Centre, which offers local people living with dementia and their carers a monthly catch-up to meet new friends, share experiences and access support from Alzheimer’s WA.
Tech Help, in collaboration with the Life Long Learning program at the library, provided free support and one-on-one training for over 55s on how to use technology including smart phones, laptops and tablets.
Come and try over 55s activities were promoted across art and craft, recreation, health and wellbeing and technology, providing weekly opportunities for social participation and learning and sharing new skills. Over 55s cultural classes were also held at the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre including Nyoongar art, nature art classes, pot decorating and cultural storytelling.
During COVID-19 the Neighbour to Neighbour project attracted 518 resident volunteers and provided support to 48 vulnerable people in the community.
The interruption to activities during COVID-19 provided an opportunity to explore other ways the City can support vulnerable people in our community and in response a newly focused Neighbour to Neighbour program will continue into the future.
The City of Fremantle was awarded membership to the World Health Organisation Age Friendly City Global Network in 2016. This achievement endorsed the City as a local government that valued older people while striving to be inclusive and accessible in an urban environment that promotes positive ageing.
The City was recognised for its efforts to become an age-friendly city by taking out the Age Friendly Local Government category at the WA Seniors Awards in November 2018.