The Poble Nou de Benitatxell is in luck. The municipality has entered the network of 'Age Friendly Cities', an initiative promoted by the WHO for the decade of Healthy Aging within the framework of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The project was presented to the public at a public event dedicated to the elderly. Present were the mayor, Miguel Ángel García, the councilor for the Mayor, Isa Garrido, the councilor for Children, Jorge Pascual, the Social Worker, Inma Llobell, and the manager of Reinventa't, the company in charge of developing the plan in the town , Adrià Llobell.
Benitatxell is the second municipality in the Marina Alta, after Calp, to join this network (Dénia is also in the process of requesting it). With this initiative, the City Council seeks to promote healthy and active ageing, improving the environment and services for the elderly and incorporating this perspective into municipal policies.
Spain is the second country in the world with the highest life expectancy: 86.2 years in the case of women and 80.3 for men. Specifically, as Garrido pointed out, El Poble Nou de Benitatxell is a highly aged municipality, with a high rate of older people registered. To this is added that many elderly foreign residents come to retire to the population. For this reason, "when we found out about this network of friendly cities for the elderly, we thought it was a very interesting project and that we could not stay on the sidelines of it."
After obtaining the badge, what follows now is the creation of focus groups to organize talks, meetings and interviews with the aim of knowing the opinions, needs, proposals and considerations of people over 60 to start working, as detailed Adrià Llobell, in eight main areas: outdoor spaces and buildings, transport, housing, respect and social inclusion, active participation and work, communication and information, social and health services and social participation.
Poble Nou already has similar experience in this type of project thanks to the local Council for Children and Adolescents and the declaration of a Child-Friendly City by Unicef. The Councilor for Children, Jorge Pascual, explained what the extraordinary experience of working with the little ones has been like to make them part of municipal life. “Through the coordinators of the Consell de la Infància they held meetings and at the end of the course the mayor and I attended the last session so that they could present their concerns, motivations and proposals to improve the town”.
"We were surprised by their sensitivity and empathy, since many of their proposals were not only designed for children, but also took into account the well-being of the elderly." One of the initiatives they proposed was the installation not only of games for children in the future park in Plaça de les Pesqueres, but also of an area with exercise machines for the elderly.
The mayor, for his part, highlighted the importance of their participation in translating the needs of the elderly into future municipal projects. “Many of the works that we are carrying out or planning, such as the remodeling of Avenida de Alacant, Plaza de les Pesqueres, the installation of pylons on Calle Padre Plácido or the future expansion of sidewalks, are designed precisely to improve the well-being and safety of citizens, especially the elderly. But now we need your opinion to have a broader perspective and adapted to your needs”.
In the coming weeks, the project coordinators will be in the Market Square on flea market Wednesdays to register people interested in participating. In addition, you can also contact the management centers: Social Services (96 649 39 92 ext. 8190 / firstname.lastname@example.org) or Reinventa't, projectes educatius (608 39 17 36 / email@example.com).