West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

MLAs Warm Up Winter for Older People on Stormont Steps!

Published: 12 November, 2012

Anne O'Reilly Chief Executive Age NI and Declan McAleer, SF launching Donate a Coat on the steps of Stormont to help raise awareness of the issues facing older people this winter.  Donate a Coat is part of Age NI's Spread the Warmth campaign, helping olde

Anne O'Reilly Chief Executive Age NI and Declan McAleer, SF launching Donate a Coat on the steps of Stormont to help raise awareness of the issues facing older people this winter. Donate a Coat is part of Age NI's Spread the Warmth campaign, helping olde

MLAs gathered on the steps of Stormont last week to help warm up winter for older people by donating their much-loved winter coats to Age NI. Donated coats will go on sale at selected Age NI shops and on Age NI's eBay store later in the month.

Anne O'Reilly explained, 'Donate a Coat is part of Age NI's Spread the Warmth campaign to help older people in Northern Ireland survive the challenges of winter. Loneliness, fuel poverty, isolation... these are the difficulties that many older people face during the colder, darker months.

'83% of older people living alone live in fuel poverty and 191,000 older people tell us that loneliness is a huge problem. Those are staggering figures. Older people also feel more isolated from their communities than ever before with many struggling to leave the house in cold conditions and not seeing anyone for weeks.

'Money raised by the generous coat donations of our MLAs will support the work we do to help older people survive winter. Any member of the public can donate a coat they no longer need or want by calling into a local Age NI shop.

Minister McCausland who is supporting the campaign commented, 'I welcome the opportunity to donate a coat to Age NI's Spread the Warmth campaign. Tackling fuel poverty, especially for those who are most vulnerable, remains one of my main priorities as Minister and so I hope by donating a coat I can help raise awareness of this very worthwhile campaign.'

One of those who donated a coat was West Tyrone MLA, Declan Mc Aleer 'This is an excellent inititative taken by Age NI to draw attention to the plight of lonliness and poverty which many of our older people experience. I strongly encourage people to not only 'donate a coat' but to call with their elderly relatives and neighbours to check if they are in need.

'Even if people are not in physical need, the presence of another person and friendly conversation during these dark winter evenings can help to reduce the sense of isiolation and lonliness that many of our older people experience'.


Notes to editors

1. Age NI is the new charity combining Age Concern NI and Help the Aged in Northern Ireland 2. The Spread the Warmth campaign aims to help older people across Northern Ireland survive winter - www.ageni.org/stw<<a href="http://www.ageni.org/stw" mce_href="http://www.ageni.org/stw" >http://www.ageni.org/stw>
3. Age NI delivers care services, provides advice and advocacy, campaigns, fundraises and influences our decision-makers to improve later life for us all.
4. Visit www.ageni.org<<a href="http://www.ageni.org/" mce_href="http://www.ageni.org/" >http://www.ageni.org/> to find out more about the charity or follow us on facebook.com/agenicharity<<a href="http://www.facebook.com/agenicharity" mce_href="http://www.facebook.com/agenicharity" >http://www.facebook.com/agenicharity> & twitter @Age_NI<<a href="http://twitter.com/age_ni" mce_href="http://twitter.com/age_ni" >http://twitter.com/age_ni>

5. If you, or an older person you know, is in need of advice, information or practical support on a wide range of issues including welfare benefits, community care, housing and health, contact the Age NI Advice Service on Freephone 0808 808 7575 to speak to a specialist advisor in confidence.