Cardiff libraries to prioritise age-friendly initiatives in 2024 

New plans to improve age-inclusiveness in the city are on the way to keep our older generation active, healthy and happy

Hubs and libraries continue to create safe communal spaces for everyone, photo from Unsplash

In an attempt to develop the living standards in the city, Cardiff is looking at becoming an inclusive space for all ages. Riding on the success of age-friendly activities conducted last year, the Hubs and Library services are gearing up to include more engaging and creative events in 2024.

Cardiff got accepted into the World Health Organisation’s global network for age-friendly cities earlier this year, according to the recent Local Authority Social Services’ report. This was possible due to the many virtual and in-person activities supporting older people to stay active and connected, held throughout the year. 

“Our aim is to keep the ageing population active, fit and out of care homes, because not only does it cost a fortune, but people do not want to be in care. They want to enjoy their time and be involved in things as much as they can,” says Norma Mackie, cabinet member for adult social services. 

According to her, the feedback received from people on age-friendly initiatives has been tremendous. This includes individuals who discovered activities happening in community hubs and libraries when they chose to walk in one day to borrow a book; those who have been referred here by their general practitioners; and even dementia patients who are in care homes.

 “We’re trying to build up people’s resilience and confidence by setting up opportunities for them to come out, meet others and simply enjoy life. A lot of them had gone downhill being shut in during the pandemic,” she added.

From craft groups to Tai Chi, there’s something for everyone at the local library

The activities conducted in each library or hub differ from place to place. In Cathays Branch and Heritage Library at Fairoak Road, for example, Crafternoon happens on Tuesdays, and Memory Cafe on the last Wednesday of every month, in addition to a host of other monthly initiatives. “The Memory Cafe is primarily aimed at those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s as part of our ‘Dementia-friendly approach’. It is an informal chat looking at pictures in the Cardiff Yesterday books authored by Stewart Williams while sharing cups of tea or coffee,” says Ashley Chaplin, heritage assistant at the library.

Such efforts at promoting initiatives to support citizens’ mental and physical well-being also made Cardiff hubs and library services rank high in the latest Welsh Public Library Service Annual Report.

Notable future plans revealed in the report include integrating shared spaces for GP and clinic facilities and providing mental health support to disadvantaged groups such as unpaid carers and those living with HIV. Although no time scale for these services is available at time of press.

Events to look out for at Cathays Branch and Heritage Library