Launch of the Sligo Age Friendly Programme

Age Friendly Sligo Officially Launched

sligoWed 11th February saw the official launch of the Sligo Age Friendly Programme in the Clarion Hotel. The event was opened by Cllr Tom McSharry followed by a presentation from Sarah Wetherald, Regional Consultant for Age Friendly Ireland. Chief Executive Ciaran Hayes, chair of the newly established Age Friendly Alliance then spoke about his vision for Age Friendly in Sligo and the opening speeches were completed by keynote speaker Brian Leyden who gave his insights into ageing in Ireland.

The event was attended by older people from around the county as well as representatives from key organisations such as the HSE, An Garda Siochana, Sligo Leader, Sligo County Council and Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership. Also present were history student representatives of Sligo Grammar School and members of Sligo Active Retirement Group who presented Sligo Libraries ‘Memory of the Dancehall’ intergenerational project. This initiative provides an opportunity for Transition Year students from Sligo Grammar School to work in collaboration with Sligo Active Retirement Groups in the creation of a public museum exhibit themed on the Dancehall era in Sligo’.

sligo2Following speeches a consultation process took place to try and identify the key issues facing people as they age in Sligo and discussions between organisations and community as to how they could work together to bring about solutions. These events are an opportunity for older people to really have their voices heard and to be part of a process that will see them given the chance to be engaged in a process that is having real impact on the ground in other counties. This consultation was the second in the county with a timetable of events over the next few months organised in partnership with Muintir Na Tire. The next consultation event will be at the Ocean Sands Hotel in Enniscrone on the 25th February at 7pm and communities should keep an eye out for further events taking place in their local community.

Some of the key points emerging on the day were; the need for organisations to better combine their efforts to improve the quality of life for the community, the creation of our towns and villages to prioritise the need of people over vehicles, a desire to strengthen the relationship across generations and the need for organisations to ensure their information is better communicated to older adults. Overall all attendees welcomed the chance to shape the community, but stressed the need for practical action to happen.

The Age Friendly programme is running in ALL local authority areas across Ireland and Sligo’s sign up to the programme means they will have access to a suite of projects, programmes and initiatives that are already improving the quality of life for older people across Ireland.

Consultations are due to finish at the end of March and the next step will be the development of the Sligo Older Person’s Council, a committee charged with representing the voice of older people across the county. This group will not only be an inherent part of developing a strategy and action plan for the county, but representatives of this group will also sit at the Alliance table with key decision makers from across Sligo to manage the roll out of the overall programme. If you are interested in finding out more about this committee, please contact Dolores McDonagh, dmcdonagh@sligococo.ie