Programme Coordinator Emer Coveney

Chair of the Alliance Jack Keyes

Who’s involved?

Who’s involved in the Cavan Age Friendly County Programme?

Cavan County Council and Cavan County Development Board launched the Cavan Age Friendly County Initiative on March 2012. The initiative was endorsed by the County Manager Jack Keyes who appointed a Project Manager, Paddy Connaughton (Senior Executive Officer) and the Social Inclusion Officer Emer Coveney from the staff of the Cavan Community & Enterprise Department to manage the adoption of the initiative. Following ratification by the Council members and the CDB a Strategic Alliance was formed and the voice of older people sought. The process passed an historical milestone with the signing of the Dublin Declaration in September 2011. The strategic Age Friendly Alliance is made up of the following members:

Mr Jack Keyes, Chair Cavan Age Friendly Alliance
Mr Bob Gilbert, Older Peoples Forum Chair, Cavan 050 Network
Mr Jim Sheridan, Chief Superintendent Cavan Monaghan, An Garda Siochana
Mr Paddy Reilly, Cathaoirleach, County Development Board
Mr Tom Reilly, Chairperson, GAA County Board
Ms Frances O’Callaghan, OPF representative, Castlemanor Community Centre
Ms Evelyn Brady, OPF representative
Mr Leo Kinsella, Area Manager Cavan Monaghan, HSE
Mr Rodd Bond, Director The Netwell Centre, Regional Development Centre
Mr John Kearney, Cavan Monaghan ETB
Ms Catherine McGuigan, Regional Development Consultant, Age Friendly Ireland
Ms Caroline Brady, Cavan County Council

What did older people tell us?

What did older people across County Cavan tell us? (A snapshot)

Prior to the adoption of the initiative extensive county consultations had been already carried out by the 050 Network including a baseline study, audits of rural & urban areas and a number of one to one meetings with service providers. The findings of these extensive consultation were launched prior to the adoption of the age friendly initiative. Across all of the eight strategic themes (as outlined by the World Health Organisation) a number of issues emerged including Loneliness & Isolation, Accessibility, Rurality, Access to Health Services. On a positive note many older people in Cavan indicated that they were happy with their lives.

How has the County responded?

How has the County Cavan responded? (An overview)

The Cavan Older Persons Forum was formed establishing itself as an all-encompassing group wholly representative of all older people living in Cavan. The Forum has responded to the strategy very proactively and has underpinned the responses from agencies. Progress to date includes:

–          Information: Older people in Cavan identified a lack of information as a problem that limited their access to services and supports. Cavan OPF worked with Cavan County Council and Cavan Citizens’ Information Service to develop an information booklet that catered specifically for the needs of older people in County Cavan. This booklet was distributed at a cross border conference for older people and further afield through local networks. This booklet incorporated a wide range of relevant information from both the Citizens’ Information Service and the Council. Information covered includes grants for housing, libraries, cultural services, planning information, road safety, pensions, and welfare entitlements such as Carer’s Allowance. The Cavan Age Friendly Programme has also adopted a Cavan county version of the Age Friendly website which is being populated with input by all Alliance members.

–          Older people stated when consulted that they wanted to get involved in advocacy work and to promote the Age Friendly approach. But to do this type of work they would need support and training to develop the necessary skills. The 050 Network/Older People’s Council in County Cavan, working with Age and Opportunity’s ‘Get Vocal’ Programme, were able to employ a support worker and offer a range of training sessions to interested local older people. Older people received training in areas such as communications, media awareness, age friendly auditing, team building and planning, setting up a website, and listening skills. They also received training from Citizens Information Service on fulfilling the role as an information provider. The older people who took part in this training programme found that it gave them an opportunity to engage effectively with their community on issues that concerned them on a local level. Older people organised and took part in various types of training to help strengthen their capacity to carry out Age Friendly work in the county.

–          Age Friendly Park – Older people identified that there was a lack of suitable amenity space for all ages, thereby presenting the opportunity to develop a park to encourage greater physical activity amongst the local population. Cavan County Council undertook phased development of Con Smith Park in Cavan town to meet the needs of all age groups in the community. Older people were consulted during the planning process for the park, which features an outdoor gym. This outdoor gym section for adults and older people won the Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Awards. Other partners include HSE Health Promotion, Positive Age/ICA/ Tullacmongan Golden Oldies, Cavan Sports Partnership, and the Cavan Lions Club. The park also includes a children’s playground and accessible paths. It is within walking distance of the town and also features a 2km Slí na Sláinte Walk. The park was the site for a Family Fun Day in 2012 during the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. Some key benefits and positive outcomes are:

–          An amenity space was developed that is appealing to all age-groups

–          Facilities are now provided that encourage older people, and all adults, to be physically active

–          Each item of equipment is designed to improve coordination, heart rate and posture. All muscles within the body can benefit due to the variety of available equipment.

For more detailed information on these and the other commitments / actions please refer to the Cavan Age Friendly Strategy which can be found HERE

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