Accessible and available services and environments are obviously major prerequisites to support people’s participation in society. Public authorities and service providers are responsible for – and profit from – making their services and public spaces more accessible to all, including older citizens and customers. Older people as experts of their own life know best how services and public spaces should be designed and organised to meet their needs. They want their voices to be heard, their experiences be acknowledged and their skills be actively used and valued. Therefore, the overall objective of the EU project Mobility Scouts is to involve older men and women in decision making processes and empower them to contribute to creating age-friendly environments and services as co-producers.
Hosted by the Committee of the Regions and co-organised by AGE, this capacity building workshop was held in Brussels on 5 June 2018. It offered the opportunity to :
- get to know good examples of age-friendly communities in Europe;
- discuss whether professionals are prepared to co-create age-friendly Communities;
- exchange experiences about the training of Mobility Scouts in five European countries (Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Italy and the Netherlands);
- network with experts in the field.
In her keynote speech, Tine Buffel, from the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing, presented the work carried out in Manchester with older co-researchers exploring Age-Friendly Communities. Then Laura Christ and Anita Rappauer presented the main findings of the project. The project implemented a series of thematic workshops, practical modules and approximately 20 local projects. It focused on empowering older persons to start with an idea and develop a concrete project, to make them agents of change (“mobility scouts”). The project is now finalising a training framework to replicate the project’s approach in different contexts.
The presentaitons were followed by an interactive panel discussion brought together different perspectives: the position of the European Commission, the contribution of DG CONNECT, the older persons’ perspective represented by the Vice-President of AGE Platform Europe, Heidrun Mollenkopf. This panel has also be the opportunity to explore synergies with the Mobile Age Project.
Last but not least, it is important to highlight that more than 12 AGE members coming from different countries participated in the event and may act as ambassadors in their own communities to spread the work and use the tools developed by the Mobility Scouts Project.