Tracy Drenth has worked in the municipal recreation sector for over 17 years, and currently holds the position of Supervisor with Area Recreation Services with the City of London. When she began working with the City of London in 2009, she began with children, youth and family programming, and has progressed to a portfolio that focuses on the well-being of older adults. In addition to managing older adult recreation program and outreach services, Tracy also provides support to various neighbourhood groups and community projects, which includes collaborative strategic planning with various local agencies and organizations. Tracy holds a diploma in Recreation & Leisure Services from Conestoga College, in addition to a diploma in Public Administration from Western University.
Michelle Dellamora is the Supervisor for Age Friendly London with the City of London, Neighbourhood, Children and Fire Services. Michelle holds a Master’s degree in Health Sciences from Western University and is a member of the Canadian Association on Gerontology. In her role as Supervisor, Michelle uses the principles of community development to support the work of the Age Friendly London Network.
Creating Age Friendly Cities Through Older Adult Neighbourhood Based Recreation Programming
The City of London has a long history of progressive programming to promote overall wellness of older adult residents. Prior to London joining the World Health Organization Global Network of Age Friendly Cities, the City taken steps to make affordable recreation programming more accessible and inclusive in neighbourhoods.
In 2009, the City of London moved to a ‘hub-and-satellite’ model of recreation program service delivery. The City’s two larger Seniors’ Centres are considered the ‘hubs’, and continue to provide a wide array of services, daily activities, special events and more for older adults aged 55+. The Satellites’ provide access to services and programs at neighbourhood locations throughout the City.
The City of London Seniors’ Satellites are low-cost neighbourhood recreation outreach programs, providing opportunities for older adults to meet new friends, exercise, volunteer, have fun and learn new skills, all within close proximity to their home. Focusing on the Dimensions of Wellness, the City of London opened its first ‘Seniors’ Satellite’ in 2012. To date, the City has created and operates 7 Seniors’ Satellites in 7 distinct London neighbourhoods. With over 450 active memberships, the Satellites prove to be a success in London.
By utilizing community partner programming space, the satellites are created in obvious and accessible neighbourhood gathering places. At the suggestion and input of satellite members, programs are changed and enhanced regularly.
More information on how other municipalities and older adult focused agencies can create and open a Seniors’ Satellite in their community is available at www.london.ca/seniors.