The Donegal Age Friendly Strategy, launched in May 2015, is a multi stakeholder strategy which aims to make County Donegal a great place in which to grow old, so that the County can be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone for it’s quality of life.
One of the actions contained in the Age Friendly Strategy is the establishment of the Donegal Older Persons Council. This Council is being established as part of the PPN Linkage Group structure to allow older people and groups who represent or provide services to older people, to be represented in relevant decision making bodies to allow them to influence and shape the way in which services are provided to them.
The first meeting of the Donegal Older Persons Council, which is convened by PPN secretariat member Mr. Andrew Mc Nulty, was held in October 2015.
In November 2015 the Older Persons Council took part in a HSE Quality Improvement Division – Listening Meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for older people to engage with the HSE Quality Improvement Division and give feedback on their experiences of health service in Ireland in terms of:
- Hospital experiences
- Primary Health Care Services
- Social Care
The information gathered will be compiled and circulated to HSE divisions, each division will be asked to put in place action plans. This work has come about following on from a successful series of listening meetings in 2014 between the HSE Quality Improvement Division and the older peoples Councils established to work within the National Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme infrastructure.
Members of the Donegal Older Persons Council also attended a National Older Persons’ Council Convention in the Clayton Hotel, Dublin Airport in November 2015.
There were 5 delegates from Donegal, topics and issues explored were:
- Launch of OPC (Older Persons Council) Handbook
- What is an older persons council
- Establishment of a national older persons council steering group
Themed tabled discussion on:
- Skills gathering
- Awareness raising/attracting new members
- Relationship with Alliance and stakeholders
The keynote speech was delivered by Richard Bruton TD –Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation.
The next conference will be held in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.
Grainne Hynes will represent Donegal in the national Older Persons Council steering group.
At present, the Donegal Older Persons Council provides representation onto three committees/structures:
Donegal Age Friendly Alliance
The Donegal Age Friendly Alliance is the stakeholder group tasked with overseeing and implementing the actions in the Donegal Age Friendly Strategy which was launched in May 2015. The Alliance is chaired by the Chief Executive of Donegal County Council and is comprised of representatives from Age Friendly Ireland, the HSE, An Garda Síochána, Donegal Education & Training Board, LYIT, Inishowen Development Partnership and SITT Rural Transport. The alliance is based on collaboration and cooperation in order to achieve the aims of making Donegal an age friendly county
Letterkenny Age Friendly Town Steering Committee
This steering committee is tasked with overseeing and implementing the actions in the Letterkenny Age Friendly Town Plan. This plan comes under the Age Friendly Towns Programme, which is being rolled out across Ireland and also forms part of the Donegal Age Friendly County programme but the difference being that it is specific to Letterkenny.
Letterkenny Community Health Forum
Community health forums are groups of individuals and organisations in a community that come together to discuss and act upon local health matters to enhance the health and wellbeing of their communities. Members of the Community Health Forum engage with the local community and its representative groups on an ongoing basis to identify needs and issues. These matters are then discussed and prioritized and plans are developed to address them. Representatives from the Community Health Forum sit on the HSE led Primary Care Teams and this allows for two-way feedback between the team and the forum, and to the wider community.