Towns enouraged to still enter Cork County Council’s Age Friendly Programme despite pandemic

Towns enouraged to still enter Cork County Council’s Age Friendly Programme despite pandemic
Liz Downes is a member of Cork County Council’s Community Support Forum, Vice Chair of the Older People’s Council and an active member of Mitchelstown’s Age Friendly Town Committee.

Cork communities are being encouraged to enter Cork County Council’s Age Friendly Programme by towns who currently hold the status.

The deadline for applications to the programme which provides support to groups for the development of a network of age friendly towns across the county of Cork has been extended and towns are being encouraged to enter.

Kinsale, Bandon, Cobh and Mitchelstown currently hold age friendly status having secured funding through the scheme in the past and continue to reap the benefits during the current pandemic.

The towns have seen a huge sense of community pride and an awareness of the everyday challenges experienced by older people especially those who are now cocooning.

Liz Downes is a member of Cork County Council’s Community Support Forum, Vice Chair of the Older People’s Council and an active member of Mitchelstown’s Age Friendly Town Committee.

Ms Downes said that the programme has sparked various initiatives, networks and businesses in raising awareness of older people’s needs and encouraged other community groups to consider applying for the fund.

“Age Friendly Towns has laid the foundations for the wonderful supports that are now so important to many in our area. We have made valuable connections with Cork County Council, local councillors, The HSE, gardaí, Ballyhoura Development, Muintir na Tire and most recently a link with the Council’s Covid-19 Community Support Programme,” she said.

Mitchelstown Age Friendly Committee have introduced online meetups using Zoom to keep older people connected, focusing on physical activity, wellbeing and maintaining a healthy mind and body during lockdown.

In Bandon, the Age Friendly Town initiative has brought many benefits to the town’s community centre which offers services such as Meals on Wheels, a call service and carers support group.

Co-ordinator at St. Michael’s Centre, Colette O’Connor, said the Age Friendly Town initiative has given the centre access to a large cohort of local garda vetted volunteers and a network of local business and organisations which are even more important now in responding to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

“The addition of new volunteers in recent weeks has allowed us to expand our Meals on Wheels service outside of the usual 3 mile radius, as well as growing the number of calls made through our Care Ring Conversations, reaching out to those living alone for that increasingly important weekly chat,” she said.

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, said: “Cork County Council’s Age Friendly Programme has brought communities together, uniting voluntary groups, local businesses, clubs and organisations in their journey to become a better place for older people to live.

“The programme has enjoyed much success over the past number of years, but its importance has truly come to the fore in recent times. I urge any community groups with ambitions to introduce an Age Friendly approach to their town, to consider applying to the fund.” 

To apply visit www.corkcoco.ie, contact (021) 4285557 or (021) 4285161 or email agefriendly@corkcoco.ie.

The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday May 29, 2020.

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