Progress towards Healthy Aging in Europe, no less!

This morning I was on my way by 6am to head to Ipswich to give a breakfast meeting speech at Trinity Park to welcome to all attending the event (including the European partners) in my role as Cabinet Member for Health in Suffolk picking up on new role the County Council is playing in Public Health.

This project is good news for Suffolk firstly because it is being funding by the award of 275,000 euro’s that our Suffolk project team including Healthy Ambitions Suffolk, were able to secure from the EU funding pots and secondly because its involves six main partner organisations from five EU regions – Italy, Germany, Spain and Denmark all of whom bring their own experiences and history to the project. The project aims to identify the benefits of healthy and active ageing and use them to inform innovative and sustainable approaches to health and long term care provision across the EU. This has a strong connection to the designation of 2012 as the ‘European year for Active Ageing’ as well as to one of the four main actions of the EU 2020 agenda for new skills and jobs. There are many who decry European projects but I say, if funding is there, let’s use that to help us find ways to do things better.

The event was split into two main sections – a ‘breakfast meeting’ from 7.30am -9.30am, primarily aimed at local businesses to help them discuss the importance of active and healthy ageing and a ‘transnational conference’ from 9.30am onwards where the EU regions will be sharing their insights into how we might design a shared approach to healthy ageing in Europe. It was a really interesting day and this along with our involvement with the EUREGHA organisation hearing from different prospective from different countries is a very powerful way in which we will learn to do thing better than we do today, not by spending more money but by spending the money we do have more wisely.

I am following the work of the project closely and will want to present to the Cabinet the findings of the project when completed.

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