Published on 23 June 2010 09:00 AM
Age NI marked the beginning of its regional launch roll-out with the first event at Belfast City Hall on Friday 26 March.
The event, hosted by the Deputy Lord Mayor included speakers Junior Minister Gerry Kelly, Anne O'Reilly, Age NI Chief Executive and Professor Brendan McCormack, Age NI Chair. The Belfast event was the first of eleven rolling out across Northern Ireland to engage with older people, communicate the charity’s new identity and celebrate the journey of the two legacy charities. Events have now also taken place in Ballymena, Ballymoney, Omagh, Enniskillen, Portadown, Strangford, Lisburn, Magherafelt, Newtownards and Newtownabbey, with two further events planned in Derry and Newry.
In Northern Ireland, there are more people over the age of 50 than under the age of 19. An ageing demographic will affect older people throughout the region now and in the future. The Age NI regional roll-out is a significant opportunity to communicate this message, and the importance of Age NI in ensuring that older people are treated as full and equal citizens in the economic & social life of Northern Ireland.
The roll-out events are also utilising an Electronic Audience Response System (EARS), an innovative new approach to engaging with older people. The EARS system is similar to the ‘fastest finger first’ technology of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and allows Age NI to collate the perceptions and attitudes of event attendees in real time using individual keypads that allow individuals to vote electronically.
At each of the eleven events, attendees are asked to vote for their top three priorities relating to the UN principles of ageing, including independence, citizenship and participation. Results from the three events to date have delivered great insight into the key needs of older people including dignity and respect, financial independence and greater awareness of opportunities to participate in NI society.