Action Plan

Our Action Plan For An Age-Friendly London

Positive ageing in London ( PAIL) has been in the forefront of developing an Age Friendly London action plan and promoting the role of older Londoners themselves and their representatives in partnership working with the GLA and relevant decision makers over the last 18 months.
The Mayor committed to London joining the WHO Age Friendly Cities network and we have been trying to help make this commitment become an agreed Action Plan which represents both the concerns and recommendations of older Londoners and the ongoing work and expertise of the GLA and related bodies  .

We have been running conferences and focus groups comprising of a wide and diverse range of older Londoners and representatives and experts from member and partner organisations for more than 2 years. As a result of this work  PAIL has been able to gather expert and liver experience evidence together which has been submitted to the Mayor, the GLA, its strategic leads and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team to help inform its decision making. You can see the links to the detailed recommendations here

History Of Age-Friendly Progress

The GLA has now produced a draft set of age friendly proposals and priorities following on from their conference in February 2020. When these priorities are allowed to be printed we will publish them here.
As part of the ongoing process of engagement by older Londoners PAIL facilitated an Age Friendly London follow up conference on March 6, 2020 at London Metropolitan University at which speakers and representatives  from the major London age organisations, including NPC, Age UK London, University of the 3rd Age, GLF of older people, and the TUC retired members section and attended by a diverse group of over 70 seniors.
This conference and subsequent focus groups produced a series of recommendations for submission to the domain groups working towards a final age Friendly London plan. These recommendations can be found here:

Since then COVID has meant that the GLA have not been able yet to complete their formulation of  their final Age Friendly plan, but are still committed to doing so. 

The 2 ‘age experts’ on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion advisory board called a meeting of the major London age membership organisations to set up a London Age Friendly Forum to help the age and voluntary sector continue to develop our ideas in relation to each of the 8 domain working groups and to support the process to agree an Age Friendly London Action Plan in partnership with the GLA, London Councils and related bodies (including Public Health England – London and TfL). 

We are trying to ensure that this Action Plan is agreed and then adopted by the GLA before the end of the current Mayoral term. In the past such initiatives have not  formally adopted and we are hopeful that this time we will have an age friendly London plan in place which can then be implemented in the near future.

London is one of the world’s great cities which draws upon the invaluable contribution of more than 2.5 million Londoners aged over 50. Through paid work alone older Londoners contribute at least £47 billion to the capital’s economy. As volunteers, carers, community leaders and active citizens, older Londoners make a powerful contribution to the city’s social, political and cultural life. Despite this our city is also a place where a large number of older Londoners live in poverty and are socially isolated, with many facing exclusion and discrimination.


Many Older Londoners have felt the devastating impact of Corona Virus on their own lives, and those of their families and friends. Now that the lock down is being eased and people are being allowed back to work and shop and travel we want to work together to develop an inspiring vision for the future of London that is safe, inclusive and values older people. We believe an action plan to deliver an Age Friendly London, in line with the mayor’s initiative of 2019, will help us along the route to a better post Covid 19 world  

Older Londoners want recognition of the important benefits which we bring to the economy and society, and that older people’s contributions to society are explicitly reflected in the future strategies and policy documents of policy and decision makers across London.

This will require a commitment by all key decision makers (including the Mayor of London, the GLA and London Councils) to making that a reality. Together we would like to work towards developing a resourced Action Plan and governance structures that reflect the voices of older people.

As a first step we would like all people of influence to sign up to a statement of intent that agrees to honour working towards :-

  • HOUSING all older Londoners will have the opportunity to live in safe and accessible homes whatever the tenure
  • TRANSPORT older Londoners having access to free, accessible and safe travel on all forms of Greater London public transport at all times of day
  • HEALTHCARE all Londoners  having access to health and care services tailored to their needs through the life course, being treated with dignity, being supported to optimise their personal health and enabled to participate in health care decision making.
  • EMPLOYMENT all Londoners having equal access to employment, lifelong work and training opportunities – recognising their contribution to the workforce and the economy 
  • PARTICIPATION communities building their own solutions to lifelong learning and social change through promoting volunteering, shared experience and participation in local governance.
  • COMMUNICATION all older Londoners having direct or indirect access to the digital world and making information available in print as required
  • RESPECT changing the narrative around ageing and recognising the positive contribution that comes from lived experience from all the communities of older Londoners.
  • ENVIRONMENT London to be a clean, safe and accessible environment for all of London’s pedestrians, transport users and residents.
  • PARTNERSHIP Establish Partnered governance structures – involving older Londoners representatives, Mayors strategic leads and other key bodies – to be put in place  to oversee the development, implementation and oversight of this plan


Our Key Concerns

  • Older people should be more of a priority, for example the GLA Equalities strategy
  • Omitted older people’s issues
  • Appoint a deputy mayor for older people
  • Take into account national and London borough issues politically
  • Adopt the Newham and Lewisham models of citizen led research
  • Show accountable governance and set up ongoing structures to ensure older people’s representation in the governance of London
  • Ensure that older people and their representative bodies are resourced to be able to be active partners in an Age Friendly London
  • Challenge Ageism in the UK
  • Recognize that being ‘older’ is hugely multi-levelled with differing focus and needs
  • Ensure the Mayor looks at the whole picture of ageing, not just care needs
  • Offer Diversity promotions/training to change attitudes

Outdoor Spaces and Buildings

  • Currently, retail use of signage/tables and chairs is hazardous to wheelchair users when trying to navigate pavements
  • Ensure more accessible public toilets including some for severely disabled people
  • Extend the Community Toilet Scheme which exists in Lewisham and Kilburn, where cafes and shops make their toilets available to non-customers
  • Provide resting places for pedestrians (seats and/or upper-body support)
  • Increase the number of dropped kerbs on pavements to allow wheelchair access
  • Cyclists and Pedestrians to have separate, safe lanes/paths


Accessible transport, free of charge for seniors, is key to an age-friendly city to enable older people to get out and about, participate, contribute, access services and reduce social isolation.

Good practice: Buses that can be lowered at stops, Indicator boards at bus stops, The freedom pass!

Policy Calls:

  • Currently, retail use of signage/tables and chairs is hazardous to wheelchair users when trying to navigate pavements
  • Reassurance that the Freedom pass will continue
  • Improved access for travellers with disabilities including: Disabled access to be available at all underground stations, More awareness of support for travellers with disabilities e.g. ‘Please give me a seat’ badge, Green Flag
  • Ongoing training for transport staff in supporting travellers with disabilities and enforcing rules e.g. wheelchair users to take priority over buggies on buses
  • Promote considerate bus-driving: stopping close to kerb, smooth driving, allowing passengers to be seated before moving off
  • TfL to provide cohesive info which includes community transport
  • Stop cuts to public transport
  • Invite GLA/Tfl heads to experience travel on the tube/buses and the Overground, and look at cycle lanes


  • More co-housing needed
  • Smaller affordable homes to enable people to downsize within their own community
  • More help for adaptations in the home to enable people to remain in their own homes for longer
  • There is a need for intergenerational housing to encourage diversity
  • It is important to ensure that boroughs cooperate and act especially around more affordable housing and housing accessibility (The London Plan will have a role here)

Social and Community Participation

  • Ensure that the GLA and Mayor set up in partnership with Pail and other older Londoners representative bodies governance structures which give older Londoners a voice- such as an Older People’s London parliament (drawing on best practice from Manchester and elsewhere)
  • Ensure that the process of Making London Age Friendly is an ongoing partnership involving older Londoners throughout the process, including being represented on working groups around the 8 domains
  • Appoint a Deputy Mayor for Older People as a separate entity and have the formal endorsement of the Mayor for the Age Friendly City programme
  • Have adequate GLA resources available to support the work of the age fora and the age networks to be able to play an ongoing full partnership with the GLA in making London age friendly
  • Provide funding for befriending projects
  • Invite clubs and organisations to be involved in citizen led projects – to overcome challenges, inspire and motivate
  • Invite a culture of openness and value experience
  • Concessions for disabled people AND their carers for cultural events
  • Involve older people within communities to help reduce their social isolation

Respect and Social Inclusion

  • Less segregated housing and more mixed community spaces
  • People need to meet each other and see different lifestyles
  • Intergenerational pairing in schools, places of faith, and community centres
  • Mentoring – to break down preconceived stigma – old to young, young to old
  • Tackle Stealth Discrimination – unconscious prejudices
  • The GLA Publication ? ‘Inclusive London’ should have more representation of older people
  • Address the general lack of patience with old people in society
  • Society should give more value to ALL people
  • London to be inclusive & comply with accessibility standards, making people feel welcome
  • Look at addressing Intersectionality – BAME /LGBT/women/disabled people etc. are at an increased risk of being marginalised as they grow older
  • Look at greater integration in general

Civic Participation and Employment

Good practice: German model (Flexible Support Fund) where the 50+ are given long term focussed support, and active job matching, to get them into work. This scheme has a 50% success rate

  • It was agreed that more of an emphasis on the work and health of older Londoners should be prioritised
  • PAiL will continue to raise awareness of keeping older people skilled and educated
  • Older workers should get further high-level training for continuing professional development
  • Encourage older people to act as mentors for the 40-50 age bracket, to pass on their skills and harness their expertise in effective practice
  • Learning reviews to be carried out at key points throughout life e.g. 25, 50 and 75 years of age
  • Provide intergenerational learning opportunities for the benefit of all age groups
  • Life-long Learning support to be centrally funded
  • The benefits of recruiting, retaining and retraining older working people as core workers to be promoted
  • The knowledge, experience, commitment and skills of older Londoners to make up the shortfall
  • After Brexit in core public services
  • Vocational training /apprenticeships to be available for the 50+
  • Self-employment/business start-up training opportunities
  • Landlords with empty commercial/industrial premises to be encouraged to make their properties available at favourable rates to start ups
  • The Mayor should lead by example and publish annually the data for TfL and GLA on the numbers of staff in work, being recruited, and made redundant – defined by age group
  • Conduct further research involving the Mayor, GLA, DWP, the community and voluntary sector, Employer and Trade Unions as to employers? current and future needs, including the SME sector – what are the skill shortages and train in those areas, particularly in the information and automation sectors
  • Phase out zero hours employment contracts
  • Training/support for self employed

Communication and Information

Good practice: E-senior schemes – digital learning scheme, Pass it On, AgeUK Techy Parties, Access via Chatbox

Policy Calls: Public Information must genuinely reflect reality – it’s often based on selected groups and not on society as a whole. Some people are unable to get out/or get online to voice an opinion Publicise – not everyone knows about the work being done and the difficulties people face

  • Libraries must be kept open – for information, computer training and social interaction
  • GLA Benchmark/tool kit of support/education services to be delivered by local authorities
Widening access to IT
  •  Digital technology benefits society but will excluded many – ensure new technology accessible to all including those who are housebound. Promote IT awareness /benefits training
  • Provide alternatives (print, telephone), as well as assistance from real people
  • Wifi to be more widely available and greater access to digital traininG
  • Make use of existing public spaces, like libraries/GP surgeries for IT
  • Training on online safety and use of social media
  • Availability of free/reduced cost of reconditioned PCs, smart phones
  • Co-design/co-development of new digital services to include older people
  • Strengthen the community by having competent people teaching the not so able
  • Information on events and activities – Look at how/where events are advertised and should that be modified in some circumstances?
  • GLA website could be simplified
  • Guarantee the continuation of free TV licences for the over 75s

Community Support and Health Services

  • Support initiatives to help older people stay mentally and physically healthy
  • Support older people to live independently
  • Include older people and their representatives in bodies set up to improve health, social care and public health
  • Continue the process of integrating health and social care for example to ensure support is available to ensure smooth discharge from hospital
  • Engaging, advocating and promoting older people in London
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