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Tyrone Pensioners Parliament in Omagh PDF Print E-mail

Friday 11 April 2014

County-Tyrone-PensionersPensioners from across County Tyrone gathered in the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh yesterday for the last of seven local Pensioners Parliaments held across Northern Ireland in the last few months.


All eager to make their voices heard on the problems they face at present, the County Tyrone pensioners raised issues including community policing, energy prices, pensioner benefits and health and social care provision.


The 2014 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, which was launched in Belfast in February, also offered pensioners the opportunity to put their questions to local politicians. The County Tyrone Parliament saw Ross Hussey MLA (UUP), Thomas Buchanan MLA (DUP), Barry McElduff MLA (Sinn Féin) and Cllr Josephine Deehan (SDLP) responding to questions from the floor.

Previous local parliaments were held in Belfast, Enniskillen, Newry, Craigavon, Larne and Magherafelt – ensuring a platform for older people to make their voice heard in every county.

 

Political-Panel-

 
Derry/Londonderry Pensioners Parliament in Magherafelt PDF Print E-mail

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Councilor-Catheine-Elattar-with-Older-people

The first ever County Derry/Londonderry Pensioners Parliament to be held in Magherafelt took place on Friday, with almost 90 older people from across the county in attendance. The event was officially opened by Councillor Catherine Elattar, Chair of Magherafelt District Council.


All eager to make their voices heard on the problems they face at present, the pensioners raised issues including community policing, energy prices, pensioner benefits and health and social care provision.


The 2014 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, which was launched in Belfast in February, has also offered pensioners the opportunity to put their questions to local politicians. The County Derry/Londonderry Parliament saw Ian McCrea MLA (DUP), Patsy McGlone MLA (SDLP), Sandra Overend MLA (UUP) and Cllr Sean McPeake (Sinn Féin) responding to questions from the floor.

The one remaining Parliament, due to take place this week will be held in Omagh, with previous parliament being held in Belfast, Enniskillen, Newry, Craigavon and Larne – ensuring a platform for older people to make their voice heard in every county.

To view more photos from the County Derry/Londonderry Pensioners Parliament in Magherafelt, click HERE.

 

Political-Panel

 
Antrim Pensioners Parliament in Larne PDF Print E-mail

Monday 31 March 2014

Mayor-of-Larne-with-County-Antrim-Pensioners-
The first ever County Antrim Pensioners Parliament to be held in Larne took place on Friday, with around 70 older people from across the county in attendance. The event was officially opened by Councillor Maureen Morrow, Mayor of Larne.


All eager to make their voices heard on the problems they face at present, the County Antrim pensioners raised issues including community policing, energy prices, pensioner benefits and health and social care provision.


The 2014 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, which was launched in Belfast in February, also offers pensioners the opportunity to put their questions to local politicians. The County Antrim Parliament saw Roy Beggs MLA (UUP), Paul Girvan MLA (DUP), Fearghal McKinney MLA (SDLP), Oliver McMullan MLA (Sinn Féin) and Cllr Noel Williams (Alliance) responding to questions from the floor.

The two remaining Parliaments, due to take place in the coming weeks, will be held in Magherafelt and Omagh – ensuring a platform for older people to make their voice heard in every county.

To view more photos from the County Antrim Pensioners Parliament in Larne, click HERE.

Political-Panel-respond-to-questions

 
Armagh Pensioners Parliament in Craigavon PDF Print E-mail

Monday 24 March 2014

Mayor-of-Craigavon-with-Co-Armagh-Pensioners

 

Pensioners from across County Armagh gathered in Craigavon Civic Centre on Friday for the fourth of seven highly anticipated Pensioners Parliaments across Northern Ireland. The event was officially opened by Councillor Mark Baxter, Mayor of Craigavon.


All eager to make their voices heard on the problems they face at present, the County Armagh pensioners raised issues including community policing, energy prices, pensioner benefits and health and social care provision.


The 2014 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, which was launched in Belfast in February, also offers pensioners the opportunity to put their questions to local politicians. The County Armagh Parliament saw John O’Dowd MLA (Sinn Féin), Dolores Kelly MLA (SDLP), Sydney Anderson MLA (DUP) and Cllr Arnold Hatch (UUP) responding to questions from the floor.

The three remaining Parliaments, due to take place in the coming weeks, will be held in Larne, Magherafelt and Omagh – ensuring a platform for older people to make their voice heard in every county.  For more information click HERE.

 

Co Armagh Pensioners Parliament

 

 
Down Pensioners Parliament in Newry PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Co Down Parliament in Newry

Around 60 pensioners from across County Down gathered in the Canal Court Hotel in Newry on Friday for the third of seven highly anticipated Pensioners Parliaments due to take place across Northern Ireland in the coming weeks. The event was officially opened by Councillor Michael Ruane, Mayor of Newry and Mourne.


All eager to make their voices heard on the problems they face at present, the County Down pensioners raised issues including community policing, energy prices and health and social care provision.

 

The 2014 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, which was launched in Belfast in February, also offers pensioners the opportunity to put their questions to local politicians. The County Down Parliament saw Mickey Brady MLA (Sinn Féin), John McCallister MLA (NI21), Kieran McCarthy MLA (Alliance), Karen McKevitt MLA (SDLP), Jim Wells MLA (DUP) and Cllr David Taylor (UUP) responding to questions from the floor.

The four remaining Parliaments, due to take place in the coming weeks, will be held in Craigavon, Larne, Magherafelt and Omagh – ensuring a platform for older people to make their voice heard in every county. 

 

More photos from the County Down Pensioners Parliament can be found HERE.

 

Political Panel at Co Down Parliament

 
Fermanagh Pensioners Parliament in Enniskillen PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Chairman-with-Fermanagh-Pensioners
Around 70 pensioners from across County Fermanagh gathered in the Westville Hotel in Enniskillen on Friday for the second of seven highly anticipated Pensioners Parliaments due to take place across Northern Ireland in the coming weeks. The event was officially opened by Councillor Alex Baird, Chairman of Fermanagh District Council.

All eager to make their voices heard on the problems they face at present, the County Fermanagh pensioners raised issues including community policing, energy prices and domiciliary care provision.


The 2014 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, which was launched in Belfast in February, also offers pensioners the opportunity to put their questions to local politicians. The County Fermanagh Parliament saw Tom Elliott MLA (UUP), Phil Flanagan MLA (Sinn Féin), Maurice Morrow MLA (DUP) and Patricia Rogers (SDLP) responding to questions from the floor.

The five remaining Parliaments, due to take place in the coming weeks, will be held in Newry, Craigavon, Larne, Magherafelt and Omagh – ensuring a platform for older people to make their voice heard in every county.

 

More photos from the County Fermanagh Pensioners Parliament can be found HERE.

 

Enniskillen-Audience

 

 

 
Get your running shoes on for Belfast City Marathon! PDF Print E-mail

Thursday 27 February 2014

Running-for-Parliament-1Age Sector Platform is looking for runners or walkers to take part in The Belfast Marathon, Walk, Relay or Fun Run on Monday 5 May 2014.

The money you raise will help Age Sector Platform improve the lives of older people in Northern Ireland by engaging with older people to identify the areas of concern to them; and supporting projects which will tackle these concerns.

We will support the efforts of runners and walkers as they raise awareness of Age Sector Platform and raise funds that will make a difference to the lives of older in Northern Ireland.

 

The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon offers participants several options for getting involved, including:

  • A Marathon Run / WheelChair Marathon
  • Marathon Relay
  • 9 mile Marathon Walk
  • 3 mile Fun Run

For more information about the Marathon or to register for one of the above events, please visit www.belfastcitymarathon.com before Friday 4 April 2014!

Once you’ve registered and have chosen Age Sector Platform as the charity for which you would like to fundraise, please contact us to let us know! Just ring 028 9031 2089 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

You can download your sponsorship form HERE, or phone 028 9031 2089 to request that a hard copy is posted to you. In addition, we suggest that you set up your own JustGiving page so that your friends may sponsor you online. Just click HERE to begin the process of setting up your own JustGiving page.

Thanks for your support!

 
Pensioners Parliament calls on NI Executive to help older people stay warm PDF Print E-mail

Friday 21 February 2014

Chair of the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, Michael Monaghan, pictured with Age Sector Platform patrons Baroness May Blood MBE and Malachi O’DohertyThe Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament is calling on the Executive to provide urgent help to older people struggling to keep warm by using extra funds promised by the Treasury in December.

Age Sector Platform is making the appeal as it launches the fourth year of the Parliament today in Belfast.

Michael Monaghan, Chair of the NI Pensioners Parliament, commented: “Since the Parliament began in 2011, the top concern of pensioners here has been keeping warm in winter. Above any other issue, older people are worried about the price of heating their home; and unfortunately, provisional figures from this year’s survey are telling a very similar story. This problem is not going away.”

“Levels of fuel poverty are very high in Northern Ireland, particularly among pensioner households. We know that work is being done to address the energy efficiency of homes and develop a long term sustainable energy supply; however, this work is of little comfort to thousands of pensioners who are finding it tough now. That is why we are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to use some of its additional funds to help pensioner households keep warm.”

“Provisional figures from the 2014 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament survey indicate that around four out of five older people here are worried about keeping warm in winter. That should be a shocking statistic, but it has become the norm. During each of the last three years of the Pensioners Parliament, the same proportion of older people has continued to be worried about the cost of energy; yet here we are in 2014 and older people’s concerns have still not been fully confronted.”

Read more...
 
Ministers to be quizzed on energy prices and health reform PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Question Time in Senate Chamber

 

Ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive will be quizzed by pensioners from across the province today on topics including energy prices and health reform as part of a ‘Question Time’ style event in the Senate Chamber in Parliament Buildings.

 

The event, which will be hosted by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly William Hay MLA, will allow Members of the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament to question Ministers on the issues that have been raised as most important to the older population.

 

Michael Monaghan, Chair of the NI Pensioners Parliament, commented: “During the last three years of our Parliament, the number one concern for older people has been keeping warm in winter. Rising energy prices, high levels of fuel poverty and an increasing number of excess winter deaths are all very worrying trends, and we are eager to hear what the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has to say about how her department can help to reduce heating bills and protect the most vulnerable.”

 

Mr Monaghan continued: “It is clear that the planned reform of the health service here is leading to increased concerns amongst older people about their ability to access health and social care services in the future. This issue has seen a marked rise in concern over the past year with older people telling us they are worried about the impact these changes will have for them as they age.”

 

“Older people use the health and social care service more than any other age group, and therefore any reform of the service will logically have bigger consequences for older people. We look forward to hearing how the Minister for Health plans to ensure older people are treated with dignity and respect when receiving health and social care, and how resources will be allocated to assure high quality care for everyone.”

 

Read more...
 
Check out issue 16 of aspire! PDF Print E-mail

Thursday 16 January 2014

aspire-16Issue 16 of aspire - Age Sector Platform's magazine - is now available to view online.

Inside this edition you can read about the new 'Hands Off' campaign, defending the need for universal pensioner benefits, and our trip to Westminster in November 2013. Also, read about the launch of the 2013 NI Pensioners Parliament report and find out about our plans for the 2014 parliament.

Also inside this edition is an exclusive interview with our new patron Baroness May Blood MBE, an opinion piece from Alzheimer’s Society NI on the G8 dementia summit which took place in December 2013, and information on the 'Keep Me Posted' campaign which Age Sector Platform is supporting.

As always, there will be an article where you can learn more about one of our member groups and some ‘fun stuff’ to keep you entertained!

To view a digital copy of the magazine click HERE. Hard copies will be mailed to members, libraries, politicians and other interested bodies/individuals over the next few weeks.

If you are currently not receiving a hard copy of aspire and would like to request that you are added to the mailing list please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 028 9031 2089. Individuals aged 50 and over may receive a hard copy of the magazine three times a year as part of individual membership.  Find out more about individual membership HERE.

 
Hands Off Universal Pensioner Benefits PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Hands-Off‘Hands Off’ is the clear message coming from older people in Northern Ireland and across the UK, as a new nation‑wide campaign is launched today defending the need for benefits such as the winter fuel payment and bus pass.

 

The ‘Hands Off’ campaign, which has already been backed by some of the most influential older people’s organisations in the UK, aims to safeguard benefits such as the winter fuel payment, bus pass, free prescriptions and TV licences after the 2015 general election.

 

Following comments made by the main political parties at Westminster indicating these benefits may be under threat, the campaign will emphasise their importance in achieving a decent standard of living for millions of pensioners across the UK, whilst also highlighting the costs and barriers associated with means-testing such benefits.

 

People of all ages are encouraged to sign the online e-petition and to email their local MP via the campaign website at www.handsoff.org.uk.

 

The ‘Hands Off’ campaign is being officially backed by Age Sector Platform in Northern Ireland, the National Pensioners’ Convention, the Welsh Senate of Older People and the Scottish Seniors Alliance.

 

Nixon Armstrong from Age Sector Platform commented: “During the last year, pensioners have felt under constant attack. The myth that older people have escaped any austerity measures is totally groundless, and we will fight to ensure there are no further cuts or means‑testing of vital benefits such as the winter fuel payment, bus pass, free prescriptions or TV licences. We call on every individual, regardless of age, to support us in our campaign to ensure these benefits are maintained for pensioners now and in the years to come.”

 

Read more...
 
Heating and eating are top concerns for pensioners PDF Print E-mail

Friday 15 November 2013

2013-NIPP-ReportA report launched today by a leading older people’s charity has highlighted the price of energy and food as the top concerns of pensioners in Northern Ireland; whilst worries about accessing health and social care have risen significantly over the last year.

 

The report, which summarises the findings of the 2013 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, found that four out of five pensioners are worried about the price of energy, whilst two out of three are worried about meeting the cost of food.

 

Age Sector Platform, the charity responsible for the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, claims more needs to be done by government and the private sector to ensure those in their later years are not endlessly struggling to make ends meet.

 

Michael Monaghan, Chair of the NI Pensioners Parliament, said: “Proposals for tackling high energy prices have taken centre stage at Westminster recently, and rightly so. The cost of keeping warm in winter has been the top concern of pensioners since the Pensioners Parliament began three years ago; and it is vital that our NI Executive approaches this problem with as much enthusiasm as their counterparts in the UK Parliament.”

 

“The big energy companies in Great Britain have been probed about their pricing strategies; is it too much to ask our Executive to scrutinise the energy market here and start asking difficult questions? Without a doubt, pensioners across Northern Ireland are awaiting the answers.”

 

Mr Monaghan continued: “The price of food has come out as the second biggest concern of pensioners here. Since last year, we have been calling on food retailers to consider the introduction of a pensioner discount day which could help older shoppers cope with the rising cost of living and enable them to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.”

 

“The majority of older people live alone or as part of small households, meaning that special promotions for bulk buying are of no use to them. We will continue our ‘Silver Saver’ campaign and meet with as many food retailers as we can to ensure the cost of food becomes manageable for our older population.”

Read more...
 
Fifteenth issue of aspire is online! PDF Print E-mail

Wednesday 9 October 2013

aspire-15The fifteenth issue of aspire - Age Sector Platform's magazine - is now available to view online.

The majority of this very special edition is dedicated to the work plans of Age Sector Platform’s Campaign Committees. Each article is written by the committee chair, and outlines what that committee will be working on in the coming year. It gives a great overview of our upcoming work in the five key areas which have been given priority through the findings of the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament.

Inside this edition, you can also read about our recent AGM, and find out more about the launch of the Pensioners Trust – a new fund set up to engage with older people and support projects that will improve their lives.  As always, there will be an article on one of our member groups and some fun stuff!

To view a digital copy of the magazine click HERE. Hard copies will be mailed to members, libraries, politicians and other interested bodies/individuals over the next few weeks.


If you are currently not receiving a hard copy of aspire and would like to request that you are added to the mailing list please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 028 9031 2089.

Individuals aged 50 and over may receive a hard copy of the magazine three times a year as part of individual membership.  Find out more about individual membership click HERE.

 
Launch of Pensioners Trust PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Michael Monaghan pictured with charity patrons Baroness May Blood MBE and Malachi O'Doherty

 

‘Our today is your tomorrow’ is the message being put forward by Age Sector Platform today as it launches the Pensioners Trust, a unique fund being set up to engage with older people and support projects that will improve their lives.

 

The charity responsible for the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament claims that extra resources are needed to properly address the concerns currently facing the older population in Northern Ireland.

 

Michael Monaghan from Age Sector Platform commented: “We have reached a cross-road at which we must decide how future generations will live their later years. Government has a leading role in supporting people as they grow older, however with reduced government spending and an increasing number of older people, it is everyone’s responsibility to invest in a future where older people are not worried about keeping warm in winter, fear being a victim of crime, or feel lonely.”

 

“We are calling on businesses and individuals to help ensure that the problems facing pensioners today will not continue to be worries for future generations. The Pensioners Trust is about investing in everyone’s future; regardless of gender, religion or race. We hope that in the years to come the Pensioners Trust will produce huge dividends for future generations of pensioners.”

 

As part of the launch of the Pensioners Trust, Age Sector Platform will introduce its new charity patrons – Member of the House of Lords, Baroness May Blood MBE; and writer and broadcaster, Malachi O’Doherty.

Read more...
 
Video from 2013 NI Pensioners Parliament PDF Print E-mail

The 2013 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament took place on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 May in Belfast. Almost 200 pensioners from across the province attended, with issues such as health and social care, community safety, making ends meet and age discrimination being discussed.

 

The below video includes footage from the Parliament and some great interviews with Parliament organisers and MPPs (Members of the Pensioners Parliament) on the most significant issues of concern to older people. Finally, our MPPs provide us with an insight into the process of growing older and how they feel about being retired.

 

Our sincere thanks must go to Northern Visions Television (NvTV) for the production and editing of this video.

 

We hope you enjoy!

 

Northern Ireland Pensioner Parliament 2013 from Age Sector Platform on Vimeo.

 
Issue 14 of aspire is online! PDF Print E-mail

Friday 14 June 2013

aspire-14Issue 14 of aspire - Age Sector Platform's magazine - is now available to view online.

Inside this edition you can read about the 2013 NI Pensioners Parliament which took place at the end of May and the vibrant debates over the two days. Also find out more about a new fear of crime project launched at the Parliament by the Justice Minister. In addition, you will find news about our very first Belfast Marathon, the launch of a report by the Consumer Council into food prices and an intergenerational event at Stormont.

As always, there will be an article on one of our member groups and some fun stuff!

To view a digital copy of the magazine click HERE. Hard copies will be mailed to members, libraries, politicians and other interested bodies/individuals over the next few weeks.

If you are currently not receiving a hard copy of aspire and would like to request that you are added to the mailing list please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 028 9031 2089. Individuals aged 50 and over may receive a hard copy of the magazine three times a year as part of individual membership.  Find out more about individual membership HERE.

 
Where are the millionaire pensioners in Northern Ireland? PDF Print E-mail

Friday 31 May 2013

Michael-MonaghanWhere are the millionaire pensioners in Northern Ireland? That is the question being posed during the final day of the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament in Belfast today.

 

With much talk of benefits being withdrawn for wealthy pensioners during the past year, Parliament organisers are keen to expose the myth of the ‘millionaire pensioner’ and state the facts about average pensioners in Northern Ireland, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet.

 

The Parliament, organised by Age Sector Platform, has seen almost 200 older people from across Northern Ireland gather to debate and vote on topics that concern them. Today’s packed agenda will see discussion on energy prices, food prices, pensions and benefits, with a panel of MPs expected to be challenged on the myth of the ‘millionaire pensioner’ during the Parliament’s afternoon session.

 

Michael Monaghan, Chair of the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, said:
“Four out of five pensioners here are worried about keeping warm in winter. Two out of three are concerned about the rising cost of food. It is clear that these figures paint a very different picture to that of the millionaire pensioner being put forward by the Coalition Government.”

Read more...
 
Health Reform set to be hot topic at NI Pensioners Parliament PDF Print E-mail

Thursday 30 May 2013

Health-panel at Parliament
Belfast is set to have a decidedly more mature feel during the next few days as the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament comes to town. Almost 200 pensioners from every county in the province will gather to take part in the annual event which will cover topics like health reform, fear of crime and energy prices.

 

The Parliament, organised by Age Sector Platform, will see Government Ministers and experts probed and challenged by pensioners from across Northern Ireland on the issues that matter to them. With a series of controversial issues due to be debated, the organisers have said they expect some heated exchanges.

 

Following the strong public reaction to the planned closures of residential care homes, today Members of the Pensioners Parliament (MPPs) will discuss the issue alongside other consequences of Transforming Your Care for older people; with a panel of health experts on hand to provide insight and information.

 

Michael Monaghan, Chair of the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, said: “The planned changes to health and social care dominated discussions at our seven local parliaments held earlier this year in each county. It is clear that older people are worried about the impact that these changes will have for them as they grow older and remain unconvinced that the resources are in place to achieve what is planned.”

Read more...
 
Well done to our Marathon Runners! PDF Print E-mail

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Running for Parliament Team L-R: Eddie Lynch, Sam McWilliams, Eleanor Mallon, Alison McKenna and Ivan Baxter

Running for Parliament Team L-R: Eddie Lynch, Sam McWilliams, Eleanor Mallon, Alison McKenna and Ivan Baxter

 

The Belfast City Marathon was held on Monday (6th May), with around 17,500 people taking part in the event. In this, its first year of participation, Age Sector Platform was represented by two relay teams with 10 individuals running a leg of the 26.2 mile marathon route to raise money for the charity.

 

The ‘Running for Parliament’ team, with an age span of 51 years, saw Age Sector Platform member Ivan Baxter (73) cross the finish line in just under 4 and a half hours, with the team having raised over £1,500 for the charity.

 

The charity’s second team ’30 Rocks’, finished the course in a slightly faster time of 4 hours and 6 minutes, with the team having raised over £600 for Age Sector Platform.

 

Thanks to all those who sponsored either team during the last few months. If you didn’t get around to donating, the good news is you can still do so until the beginning of August 2013! Just click HERE to visit the JustGiving page.

30 Rocks Team L-R: Una McCambridge, David Wilkinson, Niall McKenna and Declan Kelly (Missing from photo Geordie English)

30 Rocks Team L-R: Una McCambridge, David Wilkinson, Niall McKenna and Declan Kelly (Missing from photo Geordie English)

 
Old and Young Have Their Say PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Intergenerational Have Your Say Event

Linking Generations Northern Ireland (LGNI), in partnership with Age Sector Platform and the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, hosted an intergenerational ‘Have Your Say’ event yesterday to celebrate European Day of Solidarity between Generations.  

 

The event, which took place in the Senate Chamber in Parliament Buildings, brought younger and older people together to discuss and have their say on issues that are cross generational.  It was co-sponsored by Megan Fearon MLA, Mickey Brady MLA and Basil McCrea MLA.

 

Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell MLA and Jennifer McCann MLA officially launched an LGNI publication highlighting successful and on-going work activities. Following this, the younger and older people discussed Mental Health, Ageism and Safer, Shared and Confident Communities – three issues that are particularly intergenerational.

 

Photographs from the event can be viewed HERE.

 
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