Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Finan McCoy accepts the Public Service Excellence Award from Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
The innovative “Sharing the Journey” initiative, aimed at making Louth an age friendly county and a great place to grow old, was one of 20 projects, which yesterday (June 21) were presented with Public Service Excellence Awards by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a ceremony in Dublin Castle.
The award was accepted on behalf of the county and everyone involved by the Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Finan McCoy. County Louth is the only successful recipient local authority outside the Dublin area.
The Age Friendly Programme puts the older person at the centre of the decision making process. The principle of the Louth Age Friendly County Initiative is that through the participation of older people through a partnership approach creation and innovation will be enriched.
The Age Friendly Programme in Drogheda is supported and promoted through the Drogheda & District Support 4 Older People, the Drogheda Senior Citizens Interest Group, Drogheda Community Services and Drogheda Men’s Sheds to name but a few.
The provision of programmes such as the Men’s Sheds, Failte Isteach, Senior help Line, Good Morning Drogheda, Care and Repair and the drop in centres called the “Parlour” in the Age Friendly Initiative were programmes that impressed the judging panel. These programmes are delivered by volunteers at the front line in response to the need of older people and at last received the recognition for their great work under the Age Friendly brand.
The Louth Older People’s Forum designed a website which is a one-stop shop of information around services for older people. The website was tested by 70 older people before it went live. This model will be replicated by other counties which have adopted the Age Friendly County Initiative. You can access the website at www.louthagefriendlycounty.ie
It is the intention of Louth County Council to visit the community groups which do such fine work for older people with the award so that they all can share the success of the programme.
Congratulating all those involved Minister Fergus O’Dowd said: “The importance of this award, and the recognition that it gives to the fantastic collaborative work done throughout the county on the age friendly initiative cannot be underestimated.
“The age friendly strategy in Louth has been based on partnership, participation and innovation. Louth was Ireland’s first age friendly county and has been recognised by the World Health Organisation in leading the way in developments of community co-operation since.
“We are a county of firsts in this respect, and have much to be proud of in this, the European Year of Intergenerational Co-operation. We have led the way with the Good Morning Drogheda initiative, the care and repair programme and the innovative Cultacha programme in Dundalk, with specially-trained advocates for older people.
“The Men’s Sheds are up and running and making a tremendous difference in Drogheda and Dundalk, and Ardee is set to be Ireland’s first age friendly town.
“All of this happens thanks to the input of the relevant stakeholders and the Louth Older People’s Forum. There is no doubt that as the population continues to age, we need to find new approaches to person-centred ageing.