Over 100 people attended the event where nominated Age Friendly Champions were conferred with Certificates in acknowledgement of their participation in the Age Friendly Business Recognition Programme.

As part of the process, participants collaborated with older customers, underwent training and committed to taking a minimum of three Age Friendly actions. Some took simple steps. Some were more ambitious, but all committed to letting older people know that they value their business and are committed to serving them. One of the most common pledges made by Kilkenny businesses and service providers was to provide adequate Age Friendly seating, so that older people can simply rest their feet and take a welcome break when out shopping, or have access to seating without losing their place in a queue. Other examples of commitments, which take into account the needs of our ageing population, include the use of larger and clearer fonts on print materials and signage, providing spare reading glasses, offering to carry shopping, ensuring appropriate levels of lighting, turning down excessively loud music and providing designated Age Friendly parking.

Programme participants were from diverse businesses including everything from accountancy and legal firms to hospitality venues, health, beauty and wellbeing businesses, opticians, jewellers, clothing and footwear retailers, furniture, book and phone stores, craft businesses, social community enterprises, visitor attractions, financial institutions, public service providers and more.

“We are thrilled that so many retailers, businesses and service providers signed up and engaged in meaningful consultation with older customers and have now implemented what is collaboratively an extensive range of practical improvements that everyone can benefit from. As an Age Friendly County with more and more Age Friendly accredited businesses and service providers, Kilkenny is becoming a far more inclusive and equitable place in which older people can live full and active lives.” commented Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce President, Marion Acreman.

Michael Delahunty, Kilkenny Age Friendly Programme Coordinator with Kilkenny County Council, complimented Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce for championing the initiative. “The Age Friendly Business Programme adds to the wide range of age friendly initiatives undertaken in Kilkenny City and County and I am delighted that Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with Kilkenny Public Participation Network, the Local Enterprise Office and Kilkenny County Council in enrolling so many businesses into this programme” he said.

Kilkenny’s Age Friendly Business Recognition Programme is part of a wider nationwide initiative which encourages businesses and service providers to become more age friendly and thereby attract and retain customers from this large and expanding demographic. In Ireland it is predicted that there will be 1.4 million people aged 65 and over by 2041, with this age group making up 22% of the total population. With this in mind, Kilkenny has been involved in the process of becoming an Age Friendly County since 2010 and more recently began the roll out of the Age Friendly Business Recognition Programme. This was with the support of, and in partnership with, Chambers Ireland, Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce and the Local Authorities.

Further tranches of training will take place on an ongoing basis and businesses and service providers that are interested in partaking in this initiative, which is free to sign up to, are invited to contact Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce on 056 7752767 or to email admin@kilkennychamber.ie

Age Friendly