More than 200 people gathered in Cardiff on 29 November to celebrate the national closing conference of the European Year 2012 in the United Kingdom. The event was held at the National Museum in the presence of María Iglesia Gómez, Head of Unit DG SANCO European Commission; Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, WLGA spokesperson for Equality and Ageing, and Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer for Wales.
The conference was hosted by Sarah Rochira, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, and opened by Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales. In his opening address, Mr. Jones expressed how pleased he was that the European Commission had chosen active ageing as the theme for the EY2012 as it provided a high profile platform to highlight the challenges ahead, as well as celebrate them.
María Iglesia Gómez talked about the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, a project where stakeholders across Europe were asked to submit project commitments across six specific priority areas of ageing. “I am keen to see the European Commission design political agendas around older people’s needs and to make sure that active ageing is a priority in all the political agendas at the highest level”, she said. She also acknowledged that the UK had played an important part by submitting 118 project commitments to the EIP, with Wales also being a reference site within the European map.
Sarah Rochira also formally launched the Ageing Well in Wales Programme, as well as the Legacy Commitment on behalf of Wales to the EY2012. She said: “This is an opportunity to celebrate that we are a nation of older people, the backbone of our community.”
Other speakers included Jo Corkett, the UK EY2012 Co-ordinator; Beverlea Reategui, National Programme Director of the Ageing Well Programme for Wales; Nicola Robinson, European Political Advisor for Age UK; David Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive of Cynnal Cymru; Daniel Jones, Head of Governance and Effectiveness at the Welsh Government, and Norma Glass, who spoke from an older person’s perspective. Norma said: “I am currently learning skills from young people. We all share many of the same problems today and it’s very healthy to mix the generations.”
The event included a short film celebrating a few of the various commitments set up throughout the year from all over the UK, including Magic Me, Brighton’s Older People’s Council, Edinburgh City Council, York City Council, Age UK, the Claremont Project in Islington, and Linked In Generations in Northern Ireland. An exhibition of over 50 posters was also on display throughout the day.
Picture gallery of the event.
Click here to browse through a selection of EY2012-related initiatives in the UK.