Programme Coordinator Suzanne Duffy
Chair of the Alliance Lar Power
Who’s involved in the Leitrim Age Friendly County Programme?
Leitrim County Council launched the Leitrim Age Friendly County Initiative in January 2013. The initiative was endorsed by the County Manager Jackie Maguire who appointed a Project Manager, from the staff of the Leitrim County Council.The process passed an historical milestone with the signing of the Dublin Declaration in September 2013 by the County Mayor. The initiative engaged in a broad consultation phase with several consultation days/group development days which have been held throughout the county with older people including Senior Citizens/Active Retirement Groups. Additionally, an Age Friendly County baseline questionnaire was rolled out around the County. 250 responses were submitted by older people who wanted to have a say on what makes a county Age Friendly. The strategy was officially launched in January 2014 by Eleanor Shanley.
The strategic Alliance is made up of the following members:
Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Leitrim County Council
Martin Dolan, Director of Service, Leitrim County Council
Damien Mc Callion, Sligo Leitrim Area Manager, HSE
Michael Clancy, Chief Superintendent, An Garda Siochana
Seosamh Mac Donncha, Chief Executive Officer, ETB
Donal Fox, Chief Executive Officer, Leitrim Development Company
Joe Lowe, Head of Local Enterprise, Leitrim Local Enterprise Office
Eamon O Shea, Professor of Gerontology, NUI Galway
Francis Nugent, Regional Representative, Irish Farmers Association
Sinead Conefrey, Development Manager, Leitrim CIS
Catherine Mc Guigan, Regional Programme Manager, Age Friendly Ireland
Patricia Flanaghan, Chairperson, Leitrim Older People’s Council
Bridget Fitzpatrick, Vice-Chairperson, Leitrim Older People’s Council
What did older people tell us?
What did older people across County Leitrim tell us? (A snapshot)
Older people identified a number of issues. Due to the rurality of the county transport and connecting with services emerged as key issues. Isolation, particularly among older people living in the most remote areas came to the fore. Other issues such as access to health care, appointments, lack of communication mechanisms (broadband) and illiteracy emerged as issues which prevented older people from living fuller lives. Physical barriers such as pavements, roads and buildings were identified as challenges.
How has the County responded?
How has the County Leitrim responded? (An overview)
Leitrim has produced its strategy which is now in the process of implementation.
– Mohill has been identified as a pilot site to adopt age friendly towns. A planner is working on a part time basis with the local authority and the key stakeholders to adopt the process and an action plan highlighting priority actions will be produced by year end. The Alliance wish to roll this approach out across all towns and villages in County Leitrim through the implementation phase
– People highlighted a difficulty in connecting with services in Carrick on Shannon. In partnership with the rural transport company a link bus is running one day a week bringing older people to health appointments, local shops, library and shops that are on the outskirts of the town. It is envisaged that this service will be sustained and scaled up across towns in the County.
– The Older Peoples Forum has secured a slot with the local County newspaper to have a fortnightly Age Friendly News section which provides the opportunity to share progress, highlight events and raise awareness about services across the County.
– The HSE in Leitrim wish to replicate a Day Care Service model that was identified as a model of excellence in the consultation phase with older people. Their ambition is to adopt age friendly principles to future planning for day care centres and retrospectively adopt good practice across existing day care centres
– Based on evidence from the Manorhamilton Men’s sheds project (one of the flagship projects) the Alliance would like to support future roll out of sheds to encourage participation of older men particularly rural farmers.
For more detailed information on these and the other commitments / actions please refer to the Leitrim Age Friendly Strategy which can be found HERE