A Cumbrian business, Lakeland, has secured the inaugural Gold Standard Age Friendly South Lakeland Premises Award for its flagship store in Windermere.

Age Friendly South Lakeland, the entity that launched the award scheme, applauds companies that make significant strides towards ensuring a welcoming experience for older visitors.

The underlying ethos of this approach is to allow individuals to remain active and engaged within their communities for as long as possible.

This concept of age-friendly communities has been developed by the World Health Organisation.

Sam Rayner and Katie Gatt at LakelandSam Rayner and Katie Gatt at Lakeland (Image: Supplied)

Established in 2021, Age Friendly South Lakeland has been able to launch with the help of funding received from an anonymous donor channelled through Cumbria Community Foundation and the NHS Morecambe Bay Population Health Fund, with support from the Centre for Ageing Better.

To qualify for the award, businesses must adhere to a checklist collaboratively developed by age friendly coordinator Katie Gatt and a steering group.

The list comprises 40 points that cover four main areas: respect and inclusion; age-friendly recruitment; physical environment; and communication and information.

Based on the level of compliance with these specifications, companies can qualify for bronze, silver or gold accreditation.

Ms Gatt said: "This checklist has been created to help organisations, businesses and community groups to identify how they can make their services more inclusive for people all ages.

"Hopefully it will encourage firms and organisations to think about what they could do differently to improve the experience older people have when visiting their premises."

"I was delighted to present the first gold standard award to Lakeland, Windermere.

"They really do go above and beyond to ensure people of all ages feel welcome."

Ruth Fleming, charitable giving lead for Lakeland, said: "It is an honour to not only be given this recognition and to be the first to receive it but also, to receive the gold standard.

"At Lakeland, we take pride in looking after our customers, be it with customer services, providing products we are confident in or simply providing a safe environment for visits.

"After all, we wouldn’t be Lakeland without our customers!"

Annalee Holliday, head of grants practice and programmes at Cumbria Community Foundation, congratulated Lakeland.

She said: "We were delighted to be able to help establish Age Friendly South Lakeland and it is fantastic to see real, practical steps being taken to improve lives for older people in the local area.

"Congratulations to Lakeland on receiving the first Age Friendly South Lakeland Premises Award – and gold at that!

"We hope many more businesses and organisations will follow their lead."

The functioning of Age Friendly South Lakeland is guided by a steering group that includes representatives from a variety of supportive organisations.

This includes Active Cumbria, Age UK South Lakeland, Carer Support South Lakes, Community Catalysts, Morecambe Bay CCG, Kendal ICC, South Lakes Dementia Community, and Westmorland and Furness Council.

Cllr Helen Chaffey, chair of Westmorland and Furness Council’s South Lakeland Locality Board, said: “Westmorland and Furness Council are delighted to support this award scheme that recognises the contribution local businesses can make to our vision that Westmorland and Furness is ‘a great place to live, work and thrive’.”

For those looking to apply for the Age Friendly South Lakeland Premises Award, contact Katie Gatt via Katherine.gatt@gll.org or 07546 985705.