Proactively responding to the challenges and opportunities that arise from the city’s ageing population trend, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has committed funding of over HK$100 million to build an age-friendly Hong Kong. Under the Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project, a comprehensive support scheme that builds age-friendly momentum at community level is being implemented by four of Hong Kong’s gerontology research institutes, which are piloting research in eight key domains defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to assess the current age-friendliness in society and identify appropriate directions of action.
Today (20 May), the Club’s Executive Director, Charities and Community, Leong Cheung joined Director of the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing Professor Jean Woo; Associate Director of Sau Po Centre on Ageing of The University of Hong Kong Professor Terry Lum; and Adjunct Research Fellow at the Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies of Lingnan University, Dr Carol Ma, at a press briefing to announce results of the research.
“Building an age-friendly Hong Kong is one of the strategic focus areas of our Charities Trust,” Mr Cheung said. “We believe that an age-friendly city benefits not only the elderly but all generations. We want to shift the perception of older people from being recipients to becoming active participants in society once again, so that the community can gain from their extensive knowledge and experience.”
The four gerontology research institutes involved are the Institute of Ageing (IoA) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong; the Sau Po Centre on Ageing at The University of Hong Kong; the Institute of Active Ageing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University; and the Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies at Lingnan University. Their studies assessed the age-friendliness of the eight pilot districts in eight domains suggested by WHO, namely social participation; transportation; communication and information; outdoor spaces and buildings; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; housing; and community support and health services.
A representative of the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing revealed that over 4,200 respondents had taken part in surveys and focus groups studying the age-friendliness of their districts. They were found to have rated social participation and transportation most favourably, with 55.6% and 53% of interviewees respectively giving them high marks. On the other hand, housing (37.9%) and community support and health services (37.7%) were seen as areas for improvement. Among the four age groups surveyed from below 50 to 80 or above, there was a noticeable trend of the elderly giving higher scores than younger respondents to outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, civic participation and employment, and community support and health services.
The research has shed light on three priority directions for action, namely building Hong Kong into a more friendly city for people of different ages; encouraging the elderly to participate in community activities; and promoting social inclusion. Moving forward, the project teams will work closely with District Councils and community partners to develop three-year action plans with indicators to monitor progress. The Trust will also provide funding to pilot districts for the implementation of district-based programmes, believing that this bottom-up and district-based approach will be an effective way of building an age-friendly city and ensuring a long-lasting and sustainable impact on local communities. To enhance the publicity and public education efforts of the Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project, RTHK Radio 5 has been engaged as a media partner to incorporate age-friendly city messages into its radio programmes.
The Trust is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Hong Kong's senior citizens and has contributed over HK$1.15 billion to the well-being of the elderly in the past decade. Last year, the Trust commissioned the IoA to evaluate the elderly’s quality of life based on Global AgeWatch Index reports, and develop an AgeWatch Index specifically for Hong Kong that can provide an objective and comparable measurement over the years to show achievements in various areas and improvements to the well-being of the local elderly population. Hong Kong currently ranks 24th of 97 countries and regions compared in the Global AgeWatch Index.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Founded in 1884, The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a world-class horse racing operator and Hong Kong’s largest community benefactor, as well as one of Asia’s most prestigious membership clubs. Operating as a not-for-profit organisation, the Club allocates its surplus funds for charitable and community projects. In 2014/15, its donations reached a record HK$3.87 billion, and in the last decade alone it supported over 1,300 projects. The Club is also Hong Kong’s largest single taxpayer, contributing a record HK$20.05 billion in 2014/15. With about 70% of its revenue given back to society every year through donations and tax contributions, The Hong Kong Jockey Club delivers a significantly higher return to the community than any other racing and/or sports betting organisation in the world. As a socially responsible organisation, the Club helps Government combat illegal betting and advocates responsible gambling. The Club is also one of Hong Kong’s largest employers with over 24,000 full-time and part-time staff. Committed to global excellence and giving back to society, the Club is always “riding high together for a better future” with the people of Hong Kong.
The Club’s Executive Director, Charities and Community, Leong Cheung, says the Club believes that an age-friendly city benefits residents of all generations, and hopes that more elderly people will move from passive roles to becoming active participants in society once again, as the community can gain a great deal from their knowledge and experience.
The Club’s Executive Director, Charities and Community, Leong Cheung (6th left) and Executive Manager, Charities, Imelda Chan (1st right), Director of the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing Professor Jean Woo (5th left) and Research Assistant Professor of the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing Dr Ruby Yu (1st left), Associate Director of Sau Po Centre on Ageing of The University of Hong Kong Professor Terry Lum (6th right), Director of Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies of Lingnan University Professor Joshua Mok (2nd right); Adjunct Research Fellow at the Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies of Lingnan University Dr Carol Ma (4th right), Research Coordinator of the Institute of Active Ageing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Dr Alma Au (4rd left) and Jockey Club Age-friendly City ambassadors.