Staff turn old to learn ageing facts

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Nidderdale Plus has become Yorkshire’s first organisation to be named Age Confident by specialists Kingswood Age Confident.

The Pately Bridge movement completed a review to take a fresh look at its services, including the website, technology and environment.

Staff and volunteers took part in the Age Confident experience, stepping into the shoes of their ageing customers while wearing special equipment simulating some of the physical effects of ageing.

They felt first-hand what it’s like to use their own community transport, library and tourist information services when vision, hearing, touch, balance and dexterity decline.

Katy Penn, Partnership Manager at Nidderdale Plus said: “We strongly believe in ensuring our services meet the needs of everyone in our community including our older and more vulnerable residents and visitors.

“The Age Confident approach has helped us to recognise and address unforeseen barriers in our customer journey that can cause undue effort or exclusion for some of our older customers.”

The powerful Age Confident experience enabled staff, volunteers and partners to learn about the barriers and frustrations that older people may face and what works well in an Age Confident service.

Volunteer Peter Wright said that the training had given him, “a great insight into the problems and issues of ageing” and that in the future he would be more confident in being “ready to offer assistance but not over helpful to avoid killing the achievement factor.”

Shifts in the age of society are occurring across the nation and create a diverse ageing society that also bring huge opportunities and challenges to all businesses and organisations.

Jane Barmer of Kingswood Age Confident said: “Understanding the demographic changes, needs and desires of older consumers is vital to future growth in customer facing businesses.

“Organisations like Nidderdale Plus that connect with their customers and make it easy to use services will gain a reputation for excellence and ensure success in this growing market sector.“

The Nidderdale Plus Partnership is a not for profit organisation and charity, run by a management committee of local people.

It champions the rural area of Nidderdale, supports local voluntary and community organisations and helps local residents to access local services.