Mid and East Antrim Community Planning Partnership is rolling out new plans to help support its older residents.
Council are working with Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP) to deliver an Ageing Well Model until March 2019.
The £51k funding will help MEAAP deliver a range of support services for older people including promoting groups they can join to boost their social life, daily phone calls, minor home repairs and advice on things like home safety, finance and health and wellbeing.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Lindsay Millar said: “The Ageing Well Model is a partnership approach to support and promote longer independent quality living for older people.
“It supports positive ageing with assistance, where our older people are active, respected and supported in their community. In 2015 19.5% of the population in Mid and East Antrim was aged 65 and over. This is expected to reach 21.9% by 2030, the second highest level in Northern Ireland.
“We’ve been working with older people, community planning partners and the community and voluntary sectors about the needs, opportunities and impacts of ageing, and where extra help is needed.
“This is an evolving model and will require that partners continue to work together, engaging with older people in the local community to see where that extra little push is needed to make their lives better.”
MEAAP Chair, Jean Haveron, welcomed the news: “We are delighted to have secured this contract to roll out Ageing Well plans.
“This support will help ensure that older people, especially those living alone or feeling vulnerable, continue to receive support. We provide telephone befriending services, low cost home repairs and a home security service, as well as promoting volunteering and training opportunities within the borough.
“Our successful partnership with the local Good Morning teams and Bryson Energy are an essential part of delivering ‘Putting People First’ Mid and East Antrim’s community plan which aims to build a strong, vibrant, safe and inclusive community where everyone can age well now and in the future.”
To date, MEAAP has supported almost 500 people with 42,200 telephone befriending calls, Citizens’ Advice benefit checks, over 350 handyperson orders in partnership with Bryson Energy, and engaged with over 130 local community groups.
MEAAP are a community and voluntary organisation who have been delivering vital age well services in the area for five years, until other external funding stopped.
Following negotiations by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, financial contributions were secured from a number of partners including the Public Health Agency, Mid and East Antrim PCSP, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Health and Social Care Board and NI Housing Executive.
It’s hoped that this community planning approach could mean the work can be sustained over the next few years.
The Mayor continued: “MEAAP has been excellent at involving volunteers of all ages. They were awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service earlier this year, marking the valuable contribution volunteers had made and continue to make to improve the lives of older people in the borough.
“We have all the confidence that they can still lead the way in making Mid and East Antrim a fantastic place to live, no matter what age you are!”