Volunteer Now - News

Skip Navigation

Age Partnership Belfast Launch and Report on Opportunities for Older Men in Belfast

24 September 2014

Over 80 people attended an event in Belfast City hall to celebrate the launch of an innovative new partnership.

Engage with Age, Volunteer Now and North Belfast Senior Citizens Forum signed a memorandum of understanding in 2010 focused on strengthening support for older people across Belfast.  Age Partnership Belfast (APB), as they are now known, adopted the vision  “Belfast is recognised as the best place in Europe to grow old in”.  This collaboration strengthens the voice of older people across the city and delivers a wide range of programmes and events.

APB supports a wide range of community, statutory and voluntary organisations to engage and consult with large numbers of older people across the city, with the help of the Belfast Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership.  It is the key support to 450 older person’s groups across Belfast which offer thousands of older people the opportunity to get out, make new friends and undertake a range of social and health & wellbeing activities.

Age Partnership Belfast with the support of the Public Health Agency also launched research undertaken by Queens University into service provision for men aged 50+ in Belfast. The target group was men who have retired or are not able to work through ill health and have become isolated. The research highlighted the scarcity of services targeted at older men as well as concerns among many voluntary and community organisations about sustaining existing services.  The Queens’s School of Sociology team also interviewed a number of older men directly as part of the research.  Frank Johnston, Community Projects Manager with Volunteer Now stated;

“This research outlines the risks for men in becoming isolated and disengaged through ill health and retirement.  Many men at this stage of their lives still have a valuable contribution to make to their communities and we need to support and develop opportunities to engage them. There are far too many older men who become isolated and invisible with a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing, life style choices and quality of life”

APB Collaboration Themes:

  • Active Ageing in Belfast
  • Engaging men aged 55+
  • Developing the Greater Belfast Seniors Forum (G6)
  • Combating social isolation via the HOPE Project
  • Supporting older people to fully participate in initiatives across Belfast
  • Enable older people to influence policy and decision making

Manager of Engage with Age, Margy Washbrook said,

“It was great to see so many people gathered here today to discuss this very important issue for older people and society. 

Engage with Age, Volunteer Now and North Belfast Senior Citizen’s Forum, through Age Partnership Belfast, are working tirelessly to ensure that older people throughout Belfast have access to a range of community based services and opportunities to keep them active  and involved with their communities. Through support for the 6 local forums in Belfast and the Greater Belfast Senior’s Forum, APB is helping older people to influence the design and provision of services in Belfast. Older people who get out and about improve their quality of life through involvement in meaningful and fulfilling activities.

A Review of Service Provision for men aged 50+” was produced by the School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work.  For more information please contact Paula Devine (028 90 973034 or pdevine@qub.ac.uk)