A campaign to raise awareness of ageism and change negative attitudes about ageing and older people within the city is preparing to move into its final phase.
The city-wide Age Proud campaign will, from October, focus on how it is time to feel good about ageing and share the positive benefits that being older and wiser can bring.
It was launched in October last year by Leeds Older People's Forum working with the Leeds Age Friendly Partnership, Leeds City Council, the NHS in Leeds, and voluntary sector organisations.
But beyond that, there are hundreds of grass roots groups in communities across Leeds working to make sure that the city's older people are connected, happy, busy and thriving.
In Leeds, around 866,000 people are registered with a Leeds GP and 127,000 are aged 65 or over - and organisations such as Time to Shine are leading the call that it's 60 not out.
The Feel Good Factor charity is one of the groups that delivers activities for older people in the Chapeltown area and helped Noreen when she retired from work.
She said: "I got up one day and realised I'd had enough of having nothing to do. I had to do something. I got myself ready and went down to Scot Hall sports centre to see what was going on. I joined an exercise class and through people chatting there I found out about Feel Good Factor.
"I'd never heard of Feel Good Factor before and it really was just luck that they were mentioned to me. I joined the walking group as well as the art class and the gardening group.
"I'm not the best artist but I really enjoy it and the art class really opened up a whole world of new skills for me. I learned batik, pottery, painting all kinds of things. The teacher pushed me to do things I never thought I'd be able to do."
There are hundreds of similar groups across Leeds doing similar things and the NHS says it is committed to working with them to make the city a place where its residents age well.
“As the Age Proud campaign shows, growing older may be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean we lose our interests, our passions and our identities. We’re fortunate in Leeds to have a rich and varied range of projects and activities that people can get involved with, which help older people enjoy a good later life.”
Other themes that have previously featured in the campaign include talking about how widespread ageism is and how to get involved in the campaign; ageism affecting people of all ages; what does ageism do to us and the negative effects compared to positive and how older people are diverse.
Coun Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council's Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults and chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board added: "As Chair of the Age Friendly Leeds Board, I am committed to making Leeds the best city to grow old in, a place that is safer, healthier and more accessible place for people as they get older.
“We want older people to feel valued, respected, appreciated and recognised for their contributions to our communities. By raising awareness of ageism and challenging negative attitudes about ageing and older people, the Leeds Proud campaign is making a vital contribution to Leeds becoming a truly age-friendly city, and I’d encourage everyone to take part in it.”
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