OlympAge Games launches extra provision for older people

More than 150 older and disabled people have taken part in a fun-filled morning of games and activities at Bridgend County Borough Council’s innovative ‘OlympAge Games’. 

The event coincided with the official opening of the new Bridgend Wellbeing Hub at Bridgend Life Centre in partnership with Halo Leisure, and the launch of the ‘Super-Agers’ project.

Organised by Bridgend County Borough Council’s Social Services and Wellbeing department in partnership with Bridgend College and Sport Wales, the games aim to develop age-friendly communities and recognise the health and wellbeing benefits of encouraging older people to move more often.

Teams from local community groups, care settings and day centres across Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil county boroughs competed in a range of gentle games and activities such as new-age bowling and curling, table tennis, basketball and target-throw.

With support from the Healthy and Active Fund (HAF), activity leaders have been visiting care settings in the Bridgend, RCT and Merthyr areas over the past few weeks to highlight the importance of keeping mobile. Participants have been enjoying the chance to socialise and compete in events at venues near them.

Over 50 Bridgend College health and social care students and young leaders from secondary schools were also on hand to support people to take part in activities on the day. 

Access to Health Care student Ethan Paterson said: “I’ve learnt a lot from being involved with the Olympage programme and really enjoyed interacting with all the competitors. 

It was lovely to see how happy and energetic they all were! If the event happens next year I would love to be involved again.” 

Super-Agers and the Bridgend Well-Being Hub 

Also revealed at the event was the new Bridgend Well-Being Hub and Super Agers service. 

Supported by Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund, the new hub, which is located at Bridgend Life Centre, will house employability support, exercise referral and community opportunities as an example of applying innovation within community settings to benefit older people.

Professor Marcus Longley, Chair of Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board who officially opened the new wellbeing hub alongside the Mayor of the County Borough, Cllr Stuart Baldwin, said:

“We are pleased to see partners committed to the prevention and wellbeing agenda and supporting people to maintain their health and well-being.

“This hub and other facilities and services will have the potential to add significant value to the co-located health services that will be available nearby. 

“The Well-Being of Future Generations Act requires us to be more sustainable in our approach and more integrated in our work. This project presents a great collaborative model of how things can work across health, social care, third sector and communities.”

Cllr Baldwin said:

“This year’s OlympAge Games is particularly significant, as we celebrate the launch of the Super-Agers project and the official opening of the Bridgend Well-Being Hub.

“These facilities and services go the extra mile to improve well-being for our residents. By encouraging people to move more often and socialise more, we aim to improve both the physical and mental well-being of older people in our communities, and also take crucial steps to tackling loneliness and isolation. 

“The well-being hub is based on a campus model in which a range of healthy living services are housed under one roof. Employability support services have also been integrated into the hub, ensuring holistic support to the local community.”  

Commenting on the launch of the Super-Agers project, Cllr Baldwin said:

“Tackling loneliness and isolation is a key priority for us, as we face the realities of an ageing population.

“This project will not only encourage older adults to become more active, it is also expected to help develop new opportunities and lead to older people being trained to lead activities in our communities. 

We’re very thankful to our partners HALO Leisure, Awen Cultural Trust, Bridgend College and Sport Wales who have made today’s event and launch possible. I’d also like to thank Welsh Government and Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board for support and investment.”

Simon Gwynne, Halo’s Partnership Manager, said:

We are genuinely proud that Bridgend Life Centre is the home to such worthwhile activities and facilities. Everything we do is about getting more people more active more often, and the OlympAge and Super-Agers initiatives and new Well-Being Hub all play an important part in this and helping to create healthier communities. Today is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when people, partners and communities come together.”

Cabinet Member for Well-Being and Future Generations, Cllr Dhanisha Patel, said:

“The Olympage and Super-Agers programmes are designed to bring people together in a fun environment.

“This year we welcomed our first ‘Cultural OlympAge’ activities through our partnership with Awen, recognising the important role that culture can play in supporting mental wellbeing. We were also treated to a performance of a play by the Caerau and Pontycymer ‘Men’s Sheds’ which was thoroughly enjoyed by all attending.”