Article by Nadine Campbell, Head of Fundraising
It's the time of year again when parents are busy preparing for a new term, and for some this will mean a new beginning as children start school for the very first time. While this may be an anxious time for families, it is also a time to celebrate the imminent changing of the seasons, and transition to new things.
For Age NI the autumn also spells the start of new projects and hopefully new relationships as we look to launch our autumn campaign, Slip into Slippers. There’s something so comforting about slipping on a pair of your favourite slippers as the nights become cooler, for young and old alike, slippers seem to represent warmth and comfort.
This year we will be inviting Primary schools to participate in a Slip into Slippers Day, where staff and pupils can enjoy a day of footloose freedom in their slippers in return for a donation to Age NI. Of course, Slip into Slippers is about much more than simply wearing your slippers to school or work.
We want people to use the day to challenge the stereotypes and negative attitudes towards older people, and start thinking about how we can work together to improve the lives of older people in Northern Ireland.
By working with younger members of the community we hope to encourage and continue to facilitate opportunities for intergenerational communication.
It is key for Age NI to build relationships with younger people and to nurture these well into the future. In NICVA’s 2016 Charitable Giving survey, less than 2% of total donations in Northern Ireland went to causes supporting the elderly – evidence of the level of competition and challenges we face in attracting support.
Developing these links will not only help to foster support for the future, but will provide opportunities for old and young members of our community to learn from each other and share knowledge and experiences providing a better understanding of the issues each generation faces.
We have already undertaken some great projects with schools, and offered some simple opportunities for children to socialise with older people. We recently got involved with the Get Set for Community Action Programme, details below.
Get Set for Community Action
Age NI were a key delivery partner for Get Set for Community Action. Get Set was an exciting volunteering programme, which aimed to strengthen relationships between young people and their local communities through the Olympic Values (friendship, excellence and respect) and the Paralympic Values (courage, determination, equality and inspiration).
Over 30, 14-19 year olds – ‘Action Leads’ from Belfast Model School for Girls, worked in teams, building relationships with over 45 Age NI Day Centre service users from Skainos and Anna House. 4 projects were planned and delivered.
There has been a great strengthening of relationships between Age NI and Belfast Model School for Girls and a new dynamic to intergenerational work on a larger scale than previously experienced. Hillcroft special needs school were also involved in one of the projects which added to a greater sense of involvement and achievement. Having an ex Olympic athlete, Dame Mary Peters, be part of one of the projects and offer her marvellous encouragement to all involved was certainly a highlight which created a terrific buzz of excitement during the planning and delivery of that particular project.
This was a simple get together which offered a great chance for generations to get to know each other and build positive relationships.
I would like to wish all those pupils and students returning to schools and colleges this September a very successful term, and hope that you will join us all in our slippers at the end of October when the weather begins to cool down.
Read more about Slip into Slippers
To sign up contact Rosalind Cole:
Call: 07850 919 165