The Voice of Seniors in Northern Ireland
Resource type: Grantee Story
Older people are generally not aware of their rights and the legislation that exists to protect them. Advocacy on age-related issues has tended not to involve older people themselves, but age-sector nongovernment organisations (NGOs) have undertaken the issues on behalf of older people. Through a Seniors Platform funded by Atlantic, they can now lobby for themselves and represent their own interests directly to government, policymakers and influencers.
“What makes Age Sector Platform so powerful is the older people who are driving it forward – they are literally ‘speaking from experience,’” said Bill Carson, Chair of Age Sector Platform (ASP).“The support received from Atlantic has allowed us to become amore effective channel through which older people can participatein the political and decision-making processes that affect them.”
ASP helped to organise the “Can’t Heat or Eat” rally in Stormont Buildings in Belfast in November 2008 to ensure that the government take immediate action to help older people by increasing their fuel allowances, in particular over the most difficult winter months.This successful campaign has paved the way for older people to represent themselves and campaign on other self-determined issues.
Age Sector Platform is composed of 27 organisations and networks from Northern Ireland. With the establishment of a small secretariat and good governance arrangements, ASP has effectively established itself as the recognised voice of older people throughout the country.