The inaugural Age Friendly Achievement and Recognition Awards were held on 20th January 2015. Here you can read more about the wonderful age friendly initiatives from across the country that were shortlisted for the awards ceremony.
Age Friendly Community Innovation Award
Sponsored by An Post
South Dublin Age Friendly Ambassadors
The consultation process, carried out as part of the South Dublin Age Friendly County Strategy development in 2012, revealed that there is a need to ensure that vulnerable older people at risk of isolation and exclusion are not forgotten. This issue was taken on board by Tús Nua who developed the idea for this project. They invited members to become Age Friendly Ambassadors for their own area. The aim of these Ambassadors is to identify their older neighbours who may be at risk of becoming isolated and to invite them to become involved in some of the many clubs, groups and events that take place in the County. Ambassadors are equipped with information about services and opportunities and can assist them with accessing these. They are given regular updates about festivals, grants, new activities, etc. and are actively involved in promoting these positive opportunities.
This project began in April 2013 and to date 31 Ambassadors have been conferred with their honorary status by the Mayor of South Dublin County. They meet monthly to support each other and to share ideas. They each give an update on the contacts they have made and the progress they have made. They have also been involved in promoting initiatives such as the Smoke Alarm Scheme, and as a result over 200 smoke alarms have been installed in older people’s homes. They will be undertaking a 12 session training programme in 2015 which is being designed to upskill them in areas that they have identified. Funding has been secured from South Dublin County Council for this training.
50…60…70…Older People Helping Older People
Cara House opened in Letterkenny in 2004 with a committee of 3 to provide activities for older people. Since then a range of activities have been established, chosen, developed and in many cases provided by older people as volunteers. Older people facilitate a number of the activities such as 2-hand dancing, circle dancing, walking, knitting and crochet and Irish conversation. They have also requested computer classes, art classes, Zumba, Chairobics, Dressmaking, Spanish and Gardening. Among the other activities run from Cara House include a ‘Helping Hands’ and befriending service, a café providing affordable lunches, the ‘Good Morning, Letterkenny’ service which is hosted in Cara House. Many older people also volunteer in the local after-school clubs.
The activities have been a huge success and cater for an average of 50 people a week at the art and dancing activities while up to 100 people attend the computer classes. Instead of one morning a week, the centre now provides activities for older people six days a week.
As part of the Louth Age Friendly County Programme the Cúltaca has been introduced to strengthen capacity to provide information to older people. Based on a Dutch model “Cúltaca” is the Irish name for the service brokers meaning a ‘strong support’ or ‘backup’.
This alternative model of support for older people, which is provided by two full time employees of the Netwell Centre at DKIT, places the older person at the centre of decision making. The role of the Cúltaca is one of ‘enabler’ rather than ‘doer’. The Cúltaca allows for the older person’s needs and wishes to be listened to, relevant information shared and an action plan agreed with follow up service delivery arranged.
The Cúltaca promote and develop a person centred approach to care to ensure the wants and needs of the older person take priority over standard service delivery. In particular the Cúltaca act as a liaison between the statutory and non-statutory services and the older person, and in doing so breaks down some of the barriers that are regularly encountered. Having developed a trusting relationship with the older person the Cúltaca follows through to ensure that all entitlements are availed of. Voluntary supports are encouraged and promoted. This can ivolve anything fron finding out about and applying for social welfare entitlements to organising transport to local community events. In building the model the Cúltaca has built up a team of 50 volunteers which visit and support a large number of older people across Louth. The Cúltaca maintain an ongoing relationship with all volunteers’ thus promoting improved communications. This model supports the development of a community network which benefits the older person.
Through the Cúltaca older peoples’ specific and unique needs are more easily identified and sourced with the voice of the older person playing a key role.
The DCU Intergenerational Learning Programme (DCUILP)
The DCU Intergenerational Learning Programme (DCUILP) began in Dublin City University in 2008 with the aim of valuing and respecting the role of older people in third level teaching and learning. It seeks to develop a community of learning both on campus and online where older people from the wider community can meet and learn with younger third level students and staff. The programme is open to all older people regardless of their previous educational experience and it encourages them to share their lived experience, wisdom and knowledge in the university. In return, a variety of learning opportunities are provided for the older people in an environment that is friendly and engaging for both older and younger people.
The programme provides a gateway to formal and informal learning opportunities for older people and it allows them to avail of the University’s resources such as clubs, societies and cultural activities. Courses on offer include Introduction to Genealogy; Life-writing; Music; Law and Government; Science; Health and Well-Being; Media Studies. For example one-on-one tutoring in information and communications technology skills is available between DCU students and older people aiming to break down barriers and fear of the use of technology. To date over 800 older people and over 500 DCU students have participated in the programme.
As the first Age Friendly University, the concept of positive ageing is now an integral part of the university and the programme is supported by the President and DCU Schools and Faculties. Students and staff are offered the chance to participate in the programme in a volunteering capacity. For the students this has provided them with an opportunity to apply for credits as part of their main degree programmes. These credits are called Personal Opportunity for Development Credits or PODS. This requires the DCU students to critically reflect and write about their experience of engaging with the older people as part of the programme and many students have reflected on the positive benefits for them both in a personal and professional capacity.
In 2014 the Programme was awarded Erasmus+ funding (in association with the University of Erlangen Germany, the University of Helsinki Finland and E-Seniors France) to develop a project which promotes the use of online learning opportunities for older people across Europe. The programme is also part of a European programme which is evaluating the role of intergenerational solidarity across Europe.
Other events included; an Intergenerational Fashion evening organised in collaboration with the DCU Style Society, an intergenerational conversation on books organised in collaboration with the DCU Book Club and two conferences on the theme of positive ageing. Each year the DCUILP has organised an award ceremony to celebrate the participation of the older students. The awards have been presented by the President of the University and other staff.
The DCUILP has presented papers at UCD and Harvard University to highlight the benefits of older people engaging with university students and staff on a third level campus. In 2014 the project was one of nine universities worldwide to be awarded an Ashoka U award which explored older and younger people learning from their shared stories and photographs together. This is now been further developed with multi-media students and staff from the School of Communications, in association with older people who are part of the DCUILP.
Age Friendly Transport Award
Sponsored by Bus Éireann
Dublin North Central Area Health Route
A Community-based initiative between Vantastic and DCC North Central Area delivers door-to-door health transport services in the Dublin North Central Area for the over 65s. This service was designed, implemented and developed to accommodate the challenges that health-related transport presents for the over 65s with impaired mobility in the area. Based on the existing shop route joint initiative model (started 2008) which continues to provide a fully accessible transport service to local shopping centres for the over 65s living in the area.
The Health Route addresses the fact that the majority of mainstream public transport services are radial based routes that serve Dublin City Centre and provide limited direct service to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. State funded non-emergency medical transport is limited due to eligibility criteria and resources. In addition to the above, recent consultation carried out in 2014 with older people under the Age friendly Cities initiative has demonstrated that older people found taxi costs to be unaffordable on a sustained basis and also that relying on family and friends to transport them to appointments was not always suitable.
The Health Route service is provided five days a week (Monday to Friday). In order to use the service the over 65s register with Vantastic for the service (online or by post) and then request transport as required, usually by phone (Freephone number). Each participant is required to make a small contribution for each trip completed; this is invoiced monthly with no cash transferring between participants and drivers on the day.
The Health Route service provided 2,300 passenger trips in 2014 (it has completed 12,830 trips since first introduced in Sep 2010). Currently there are 1,998 people registered to use the Health Route service ensuring that they are regularly attending health appointments. Since the introduction of Health Route participants have been able to attend 49% more appointments and have missed fewer appointments. This has also improved cost-effectiveness for the HSE from a dual revenue model of public funding and individual participant contributions in addition to other benefits such as increased social interaction, reduced burden on family and carers and the promotion of social enterprise and job creation (the majority of drivers have been unemployed prior to working with Vantastic). Finally the project provides evidence that inter agency projects are an effective delivery method for social improvement and change.
The Age Friendly Transport Award – Fingal
The Fingal Pilot Health Route service was designed to accommodate people over 65 years of age travelling to health appointments, with priority set on delivering a door-to-door service for older people with impaired mobility issues. The development of the Health route responds to the lack of accessible public transport for older people attending hospital/health appointments and to requests and feedback from consultations with older people and public representatives.
The project initially began as a pilot in 2012 and following the completion of the pilot, a review and evaluation of the Health Route Service was carried out in 2013 by an independent consultant. This review considered the viability of a combined payment model to enable the continuation of this service and led to a decision to continue funding the initiative through the HSE and Vantastic Ltd with fixed contributions from older people availing of the service. The project has gone from strength to strength and now has over 600 older people registered with the service. It continues to contribute to the improvement of health and wellbeing for older people but reducing the number of missed appointments and the burden on family and carers. It has promoted social enterprise and job creation and in particular has increased awareness within stakeholder organisations of the value of interagency projects in delivering effective change.
Two Partnership Approaches for Hospital Appointments in Co. Meath
Flexibus offers two cost-effective partnership approaches to the provision of transport for hospital appointments for people who have no access to transport; Volunteer drivers and Tus drivers. Since 2011, Flexibus have provided 4,339 passenger journeys to hospitals through the Tús Initiative and since 2012, have offered 1,111 passenger journey to hospitals through the Community Car Initiative.
This initiative offers benefits to the volunteer drivers, the Tus drivers and the passengers. For the volunteer drivers strong bonds are forged between passenger and driver and they have a mutual respect for each other. For the Tús drivers, increased confidence, respect and a genuine sense of self-worth are just some of the benefits that drivers feel when they bring people to hospital appointments. These drivers, who may not have worked in a few years, are given an opportunity to get back into employment and routine, be part of a team, and knowing that they have made a difference. As a result of being part of the programme, some drivers have got a bus licence, and become drivers for Flexibus. Many surveys carried out in Meath identify that access to hospital and health appointments are key requirements for older people living in rural areas and the service responds effectively to this need.
Age Friendly Active & Healthy Ageing Award
Sponsored by Health and Wellbeing Division, HSE
Intergenerational and Creative Development – Kildare
In January 2000, a group of professionals, all living in Naas and aware of their own ageing, came together to plan the type of environment they would choose to live in if they could no longer remain independent at home but did not need full nursing care.
They committed themselves to developing an alternative to institutional residential care for older persons and a model that would create a society for all ages. Twelve years later, McAuley Place was established, with 53 self-contained one bedroomed apartments in the former Convent of Mercy which is in the heart of Naas. It is a development where the older person is at the heart of a vibrant community, where they would choose to live if they could no longer remain independent at home and where they would continue to remain a dividend in the community. The development also houses the Convent Tea Rooms, a Community Centre, an Arts and Culture Centre, a Volunteer Hub and plans to develop a Health through Learning centre. The involvement of transition year volunteers has resulted in benefits for older people and the students.
North Central Area Tea Dances – Dublin North Central
This initiative was pioneered by the North Central Area Community Development Team of Dublin City Council. After ongoing consultation with active age and other community groups in the area, it was discovered that a niche existed for Old Style Tea Dances. A partnership was arranged with the newly refurbished Parnell’s GAA Club in Coolock Village as they agreed to provide a function room and set time for these day dances. It was agreed that ticket prices would just cover costs for venue hire and tea & coffee and music. The first dance took place in January 2013 and they have grown ever since with over 180 in attendance at these monthly/bi-monthly events. During 2014, we expanded the concept to include seasonal celebrations with a fancy dress theme i.e Ballroom of Romance, Easter Parade, Beach Party, Harvest Time Barn Dance and Monsters Ball. In addition to many active age group members and local older people we also have regular attendees through the Irish Wheelchair Association, Anam Cara and Fold housing Nursing Homes, St Michaels House, Suaimhneas Clubhouse and others. The initiative is an excellent example of social inclusion at a fun local and healthy event.
The dances attract regular attendees (up to 180) per dance. It has been an achievement to include many older people that otherwise could be socially excluded or marginalised in their local area. Madeleine Ebbs pioneered the idea within the Community Development Team. It is a real achievement to see shy, awkward or disabled individuals up dancing in a group and truly enjoying themselves for the time they are there.
Games for Life – Meath
Games for life is a physical activity based programme designed for older adults in Care Settings, Active Retirement Groups, Friendship Clubs, Disability Services and Community Groups. Representatives from the different groups and organisations attend information and practical sessions on how to play each of the activities. They commit to running the specific activity on a weekly basis within their group and enter weekly/monthly competitions and leagues. Games for Life enhances opportunities for social interaction and not only provides a platform of being more physically active but also provides the confidence to older adults to engage with their community.
Have the Time of your Life in the Prime of your Life
St. Joseph`s Court Residents Association innovative approach to living life to the fullest includes active participation and contribution to local and community events. For all 43 apartments in the complex, they organise short holiday breaks, hold health and wellbeing initiatives, gym and exercise, health and beauty, computer classes, arts week events, cultural nights, exhibitions and have weekly coffee mornings to keep abreast of everything that is happening and to keep in touch with one another. Their zest for living and drive and determination is to be admired.
Age Friendly Business Award
Sponsored by Chambers Ireland
Cavan Age Friendly Business
As part of the implementation of the Cavan Age Friendly County Strategy and in tandem with the Cavan Age Friendly Town process a Business Recognition Scheme was adopted by key stakeholders, including the Alliance and the Older Peoples Forum. Cavan Chamber took the lead in hosting the training sessions and to date over 25 businesses have participated in the scheme, all of whom undertook to make small changes to improve their older customers’ experience. Some of the changes included providing customer seating, making toilets available to customers, clearer signage, smaller food portions and special offers for the older customer. Local companies are already benefitting from being involved.
Doing it for Ourselves – Limerick
St Munchin’s Community Centre is a community based, voluntary organisation that provides a broad range of local, person centric service provision to people residing predominantly in the northside region of Limerick City. St Munchin’s Community Centre Ltd. have developed a strong competency in its ability to use its resources to maximum effect in providing a benefit to the local community in tandem with creating an opportunity for the creation of traded income for the centre. Services are delivered on a daily basis to over 900 local people across the target area and there are 134 employees plus 85 volunteers. They provide a central accessible community hub accommodating local services plus a meeting space to address isolation and social exclusion for the older member of the community.
Kilkenny Business Opportunities in an Age Friendly Environment
Since age friendly business was unchartered territory for many companies in Kilkenny, Rikon in collaboration with the Kilkenny AFCC designed a strategy to help Kilkenny to become a Business Age Friendly destination. The strategy identified a number of positives for businesses such as increasing their markets from among the 28,000 older people in the area. The strategy also identified a number of age friendly initiatives that are low or zero cost, relatively easy to implement and that could have a significant impact on the revenue of the business. For example:
• Increasing the accessibility of the business and making it easier to find and move around.
• Offering products or services that are appropriate for older adults.
• Offering assistance with shopping, and or drop off/delivery services.
• Providing respectful customer service.
• Place products on shelves which are reachable or readily offer assistance to reach items.
• Use large, clear fonts for signage, printed materials, and websites.
Age Friendly Communication Award
Sponsored by Google
Kilkenny Age Friendly Communication Activities
Under the Kilkenny Age Friendly County Programme a number of activities were developed to communicate with older people, service providers and the public on work carried out under the programme. For example
• The weekly Age Friendly column in the Kilkenny People reaches approximately 26,400 people and is printed in larger typeface than the rest of the paper. The article is typically 400 words per week and comprises of information that is of interest to older people in the county. It has been running since 2012 and will for the foreseeable future.
• From the beginning of 2015 the article will also run in The Kilkenny Reporter, a free local newspaper with a weekly distribution of 14,000 copies. This is after numerous requests from the public to the Older People’s Forum as many people only read the Reporter now.
• The column is also published on the Kilkenny Age Friendly website, managed and updated by Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny LEADER Partnership.
• The Kilkenny Age Friendly Facebook page is also used to promote age friendly activities around the county as well as offering information relating to the Kilkenny Age Friendly Programme, events and information to its followers. The Kilkenny Age Friendly website and Facebook page are an easy to use format with the benefit of being able to change the text size to suit the user.
• An information booklet aimed at older people in the county was published with part-funding from the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership.
Clare Memories – Recording the Rich Oral History of Clare’s Oldest Citizens
Cuimhneamh an Chláir’s was established as an independent, not-for-profit, community based charity, to record, document, archive and share the memories, experiences, customs, traditions and practices that characterise County Clare. The project is mindful that the current population of older people may represent the last link to an older way of life in Clare. It aims to provide a platform for the dissemination of the material collected through co-operation with community groups, schools, third level institutions and the broader public. By doing so it seeks to preserve and enhance local knowledge and appreciation of the rich folklore and oral history in their locality. It provides opportunities for people of all ages to engage in the collection programme.
The volunteer programme has gone from strength to strength and the archive now contains 580 interviews, totalling in excess of 1600 hours of priceless audio documenting the life, traditions and folklore of Clare’s eldest citizens. The project has also involved contact with numerous local community groups to collect oral history in their area with the recordings kept in the community and also deposited in our archive. Our continuing public outreach programme expanded again in 2014 when we successfully were grant aided to develop a community documentary for radio based on our archive of oral history. The project has also developed a number of interactive audio walls, which are placed at key locations throughout the County, for the public and tourists alike to expand their knowledge of folklore and oral history.
Monaghan Dementia Awareness Information Booklet
In response to the huge demand for services and information on dementia in the county, Monaghan Branch of Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, Monaghan Older People s Forum and Monaghan County Council came together to meet this demand. They identified three information needs; to help remove stigma about dementia in society, to highlight the signs of early onset dementia and to provide information on the available services and supports in the county.
The groups developed a user-friendly Dementia Awareness information booklet to address these communication needs. A Dementia Awareness Seminar was held to officially launch the booklet, attended by the over 200 participants including various support services/agencies addressing the needs of people with dementia and their families. Speakers dealt with a variety of topics relating to dementia and caring for someone with dementia. For example a local GP spoke about the medical support available locally and what should be done to address worries about oneself or a loved one. A speaker from the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland outlined the supports available to people from their organisation; a dietician spoke of the importance of good diet and nutrition and finally the conference heard a real life story from a local woman caring for her mother who has dementia. Since its launch over 1000 copies of the booklet have been circulated throughout the county and is currently awaiting a reprint of a further 1000 copies. Copies of the booklet have been disseminated locally through the websites of service providers and nationally through the Age Friendly City and County structures.
The groups also developed a leaflet for retailers and business in the county, to help them assist customers with dementia and a copy of this information leaflet was distributed to businesses throughout the county as part of Positive Mental Health Week 2014.
Limerick Submission to Statutory Plan
A submission was made to the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan (LRFIP) by the Steering Group of the Limerick Northside Age Friendly City Plan.
There are four Regeneration Areas within Limerick City which includes the Moyross Regenerations Area. Moyross forms part of study area for the Age Friendly Project in Limerick City. The opportunity was highlighted to the Project Steering Group for consideration and it was agreed that it was important to highlight the work carried out as part of the Limerick Northside Age Friendly City Plan and have it recognised within a statutory document. Consultation was carried out with Older Adults living in the Northside of Limerick City (study area) as part of the Age Friendly Town Project, this included Public Meetings, Focus Groups and Walkability Audits. Findings were gathered under the 9 National Outcomes and used to inform the submission to the LRFIP.
Age Friendly Environment Award
Sponsored by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design
East Wall Waste Ground and Community Garden
The issue of derelict sites and unsightly waste ground was identified in East Wall as an issue of concern to older people. Local volunteers and the Men’s Shed group chose a number of these sites and contacted the owners. As the owners were not in a position to clear the sites the volunteers organised three clean-up days and planted the perimeters of the derelict sites with flower pots and planters. The local residents have taken responsibility for the watering and maintenance of the plants and the local primary school will bring children up to the area and do some replanting. The intergenerational aspect of the project gives a sense of shared ownership and has reduced illegal dumping and anti-social activity in the area.
Agreement has also been reached between the community, the church and Dublin City Council to establish a Community Garden in one of the few available green spaces, around the local church. It is expected that work will commence in 2015.
Skerries Age Friendly Town Initiative
The Skerries Age Friendly town was developed as one of the Actions of the Fingal Age Friendly County Strategy in response to the aspirations of Skerries Community Development Association and Skerries Tidy Towns Committee to improve the town and become more age friendly.
As part of the Age Friendly Town Process a number of actions were undertaken such as:
- Walkability Surveys
- Consultation days with older adults, Service Providers, Local Community and Voluntary Group
- An audit of signage in the town
- Participation in the Business of Ageing programme
Feedback from the Age Friendly Town process undertaken during 2013 was used to develop an Action Plan for the town. The Plan included a number of actions such as upgrading and enhancing the town park to make it more accessible for all and committing to the roll out of the OPRAH (Older People Remaining at Home) Initiative. To address the social isolation of older people, the town has also developed a befriending programme.
As outlined earlier, Skerries has also implemented the Message in a Bottle Initiative and the ‘Health Route’ transport initiative for over 65 year olds with impaired mobility issues to Beaumont, Bon Secours and Mater hospitals.
An Age Friendly Town Information Working Group has been established and has begun to collate all existing relevant information and to develop a new user friendly information database for older people. The information will be made available in both hardcopy format and on a new online directory of services.
Many of the issues identified in the Plan have already been addressed. For example, Fingal County Council’s Operations Team has installed a number of additional seats around the town and commenced work on the upgrade of the Town Park. In association with the Alzheimer’s Society and the Dementia Friendly Town’s Initiative, an area of the park will be designed with input from Alzheimer’s sufferers and their Carers.
Cavan Age Friendly Town
Cavan County Council has developed a number of projects within Cavan Town and its environs to reflect the Council’s commitment to encouraging accessibility, responsible tourism and inclusivity of older people. For example an Outdoor Recreational Gym for Adults & Older People was designed specifically for older people and installed in the Cavan Town’s Con Smith Park in 2009. The Green Lough Eco Park was developed with a focus on accessibility and sustainability. The Park with its accessible picnic bench, accessible paths, insect hotel, animal footprints trail and information on flora and fauna, references to old local folklore stories is a resource for all ages.
An Age Friendly Accessibility Audit was conducted by the O50 Network to assess the accessibility of buildings and streetscapes within Cavan Town. In total 326 public buildings in the town were visited and meetings/interviews took place with 90 people. The Johnston Central Library Building offers fully accessible services to older people including assistive and adaptive technology and various other supports for older people.
Other improvements include the installation of dropped kerbs, tactile paving, parking bays, and multi-access paths. There have also been upgrades to existing public buildings such as the award-winning Johnston Central Library, Leisure Centre & Swimming Pool and the Cavan County Museum. Sandwich boards have been removed from the streets and an online access audit and consultation process has been carried out with people with disabilities and older people.
Public Seating Pilot – Crumlin Age Friendly Town
Crumlin village, as part of the Age Friendly Towns project, sought to improve the outdoor environment for older people and for the wider community. In 2014 a pilot scheme was undertaken to reintroduce some public seating in the area. Considerable design work went into seat selection and seat location with a public collaboration mapping exercise undertaken to determine the priority location for seats. Two seats were installed in the village core area and have been a major addition to the community.
Age Friendly Safety and Security Award
Sponsored by An Garda Síochána
The Foxford Safety and Security Project
The Foxford Trusted Tradesperson programme was set up in response to the consultation findings from the Age Friendly Towns initiative where older people in Foxford felt unsafe in their own homes due to ‘rogue’ traders calling into the home. The safety initiative was coordinated through Age Friendly Ireland, Mayo County Council, local tradespeople and An Garda Siochana. The programme involved awareness training with local tradespeople in Foxford when they visit the home of an older person(s). Dementia awareness training was also carried out with the tradespeople to make them more conscious of people who have dementia and how this affects them. An Garda Siochana supported the programme by vetting the tradespeople to make sure they had no criminal convictions and also provided further safety advice in the home using a leaflet.
The Fingal Message in a Bottle Initiative
The ‘Message in a Bottle’ Initiative is an emergency information scheme established as a Lions Club project and supported by the Emergency Services. It enables vulnerable people and people who live alone or those with medical conditions or allergies to keep their personal and medical details on a standard form in a common location i.e. the fridge. The information in the bottle includes items such as a photograph, health details, emergency contact, doctor contact, whether there are pets that need looking after and where medication is kept in the house etc. Stickers are put on the fridge and on the inside of the front and back door to alert the emergency services that the vital information is available in the fridge, saving valuable time in the event of an emergency.
The Message in a Bottle Initiative was rolled out in a number of towns throughout Fingal. In Skerries it was launched as part of the Age Friendly Town programme and the Kit was assembled by volunteers and members of the Skerries Auxiliary Fire Brigade. The distribution of the 2000 bottles was a community effort, involving the local public library service, Skerries Citizen’s Information Service, the Public Health Nurse team within the HSE, local Community Gardaí and staff from Fingal Home Care Ltd.
Cavan Age Friendly Crime Prevention and Safety Initiatives
Gardai represented on the Cavan Age Friendly Alliance have developed and implemented a number of safety and crime prevention projects for older people in the community. For example, each Garda District within County Cavan maintains an up to date Older Persons Register with each older person’s residence listed with GPS co-ordinate assigned.
Cavan has also participated in the pilot Crime Prevention Ambassadors Initiative along with Counties Meath & Monaghan. The initiative selected and prepared active older people and community representatives to become Ambassadors to support older and vulnerable people in their community by delivering crime prevention information to them. The project was specifically designed to empower older people within the community by working in partnership with An Garda Síochána.
Within Cavan 14 people were volunteered to participate on the initiative and received training delivered by the Gardaí in relation to crime prevention. 8 volunteers went to complete 38 visits and over 50 ‘Green Messages in a Bottles’ were distributed. The pilot is currently being reviewed as to how it can be rolled out on a national level and Co Cavan have committed to participating again when it recommences.
A total of 43 active Community Alert Groups have been supported throughout the County. The Bailieborough Community Alert Group have been particularly active in implementing initiatives for older people. In 2014 the Group set up the ‘Lend a Hand’ initiative which provides a visitation and minor repairs service to vulnerable and older people in the Bailieborough area. It is delivered by a pool of local volunteers and they also deliver a very successful Text Alert Service to 287 people registered with the scheme.
In 2014, Bailieborough Community Alert made a successful CIS application to Cavan County Council for a new footpath on the Cavan Road out of Bailieborough to connect the town with the Castle Lake and Forest. 80% funding was received towards this and the committee fundraised the remaining €13,500. This new footpath is now complete and increases pedestrian safety which is extremely relevant to older members of the community who take short and regular walks to help their joints and osteoporosis.
Westmeath Care & Repair Service
Over 1,000 care and repair jobs were logged in Co. Westmeath in 2014 as part of a new service set up as part of the Age Friendly Cities and Counties programme. The Repair Service uses a pool of volunteers and handy persons to carry out small repairs and to complete minor home tasks for older people. All requests for small jobs are considered and the most commonly used services are: minor gardening, minor painting (e.g. front door, garden gate), changing plugs, fuses and light bulbs, hanging curtains, installing security locks and chains, installing domestic smoke alarms.