Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
Meath County Council and the Strategic Alliance launched the Meath Age Friendly County Initiative in September 2011. The initiative was endorsed by the County Manager who appointed a Project Manager, from the staff of the Meath Community & Enterprise Department. Following ratification by the Council members and the County Development Board 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 by the County Mayor. The strategy was officially launched by MichealO’Muircheartaigh.
What did Older People tell us:
The initiative carried out a consultation phase including two large County Consultations and a number of smaller focus groups, one to one meetings and questionnaires. Across all of the eight strategic themes (as outlined by the World Health Organisation) a number of issues emerged. The two key issues for older people in Meath were Transport & Information/Communication. Older people in Meath felt strongly that this new process should allow them to have a voice at both local and national level.
How has the County responded:
Whilst there were various groups in existence across the County, it was agreed to establish a new older person’s forum in the County in order to ensure that the voice would be representative of all older people. Membership is open to all including representatives from community groups, individuals, advocates/brokers/carers and those living in nursing homes.
Transport: A working group was established chaired by the Manager of the Transport Co-Ordination Unit. 1200 transport surveys were completed and mapped using GIS determining where there is demand and how supply can meet the needs. The community car scheme is being scaled up to support the demand. Bus Eireann (transport provider) rerouted the service to ensure older people can get to the gates of Drogheda Hospital. Bus shelters/stops were identified as priority areas.
Information:Meath has very recently adopted a County wide information website specifically for older people. Information has been gathered from all key stakeholders and a jobs-bridge placement was secured to populate the information. The website will be promoted as a one stop shop for information for all older people living in County Meath
Safety & Security: County Meath engaged in the pilot Crime Prevention Ambassadors programme. The Crime Prevention Ambassadors initiative is essentially a peer programme sharing crime prevention information that was developed at the National Community Policing Office. The volunteer Ambassadors provide information, give advice and raise awareness, thereby reducing any unwarranted fears. The initiative aims to support and empower older people to make greater use of available Garda resources, and so feel and be safer at home and in their communities. Alongside Cavan and Monaghan 37 volunteers participated in the pilot and visited 230 older people, distributed Emergency Information Bottles, Crime prevention information and forms for older people to add their names to the Garda Older Persons Register. The volunteers were accredited for their participation and the programme is undergoing a review with a vision to roll out nationally.
For more detailed information on these and the other commitments / actions please refer to the Meath Age Friendly County Strategy