Older Persons Groups
These provide opportunities for older people to keep physically and mentally active and reduces social isolation. This support is delivered by a Community Projects Team and includes:
Older Persons Forums
The Community Projects Team worked with older persons groups to establish both the West Belfast 50+ Forum and Greater Shankill Senior Citizens Forum which meet monthly:
Volunteer Now assisted older men to establish the Men Utd network in late 2008. It organises a regular programme of activities for older men to keep them active and reduce social isolation. It is aimed at older men aged 55 or older and currently has over 300 registered members. This group reflects many older mens reluctance to join traditional older persons groups and offers an alternative opportunity to make new friends and keep active.
Volunteer Now also produces a range of regular publications to encourage older persons groups and individuals to remain active and sustain their activities. These include:
Active Citizenship through the Arts
Volunteer Now supported "Afternoon Delight" which was the only dedicated weekly older persons community radio programme in Northern Ireland. It broadcast on Feile FM for over 3 1/2 years up to March 2011. The programme was featured in a BBC Northern Ireland television documentary called "Grey FM" on the 31st January 2011. This dedicated and skilled team of older volunteers are now using this experience to develop older persons programming in other community radio stations across Northern Ireland. They are also developing an older persons television programme on Northern Visions Television in Belfast (NVTV). The team broadcast information on social opportunities as well as debating key issues affecting older people with a range of guests e.g. local politicians and officials from a range of agencies providing services for older people.
Age Sector Partnerships & Collaboration
Volunteer Now is committed to a range of collaborative partnerships to support older people across Belfast. It is part of the Age Partnership Belfast collaborative group including Engage with Age and North Belfast Senior Citizens Forum. Age Partnership Belfast supports 500+ older persons groups and 6 senior citizens forums across Belfast. It also supports the G6 (Greater Belfast Seniors Forum) which brings together 2 representatives from each of the 6 older persons forums in Belfast and Castlereagh. Its key objective is to provide an effective lobbying voice for the needs of older people across the city. Volunteer Now also works closely with other voluntary and community groups to support work to engage isolated older people e.g. Men Utd network for older men aged 50+. Staff also contribute to a wide range of steering groups e.g. HOPE project (Engage with Age), HASP (Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership), Rejuvenate Mens Sheds Project etc.
If you are working with older people in a statutory, community or voluntary capacity or you are an older person who would like to join an existing older persons group or some-one who would like to set up a new group please contact Deirdre Murphy or Frank Johnston via email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or telephone 028 90 232020.