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Age NI, in collaboration with CARDI, held a rural roundtable event on the 30 May 2013 with rural policy makers, academics, and other rural stakeholders.

The aim of the event was to determine whether or not Age NI should have a rural focus in its policy work, based on research findings. Our strategic priorities in our policy work currently relate to; Health and Social Care, Citizenship, and Poverty and Social Inclusion. Policy development in these areas has not, thus far, focused on the impact of living in a rural location. Age NI has been challenged by a range of stakeholders about the absence of a rural focus in our policy work and we recognise the need to review this approach.

The event was attended by the following individuals:

  • Roger O’Sullivan, Director CARDI
  • Paul McGill Strategic Research Officer, CARDI
  • Vanessa Burholt Centre for Innovative Ageing Swansea
  • Thomas Scharf, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, Ireland
  • Dermot O’Reilly, Centre for Public Health, Queens University 
  • Louise Coyle, Policy Officer NIRWN 
  • Sharon Fitchie, DARD Equality Branch
  • Janet Cooper, DARD Equality Branch 
  • Paul Donnelly, DARD Rural Development Programme 
  • Sheelah Connolly, Research Fellow, Trinity College Dublin
  • Amy Veale, Research Manager, Age NI
  • Bernadette Maginnis, Strategic Policy Adviser, Age NI

In order to inform discussions, a series of presentations were given by Age NI, DARD, NIRWN, and academics. The following questions were addressed through both through the presentations and the discussions that followed:

  • Should Age NI have a rural focus in its policy work?
  • If yes, what issues should Age NI prioritise, based on research?
  • How should Age NI focus its rural policy work?

Age NI has developed a series of action points based on the recommendations of those who attended this event.  We will be following up on a number of these actions over the coming months.  An outline of the main issues and actions discussed can be seen in the link below.

Rural Ageing Event (Doc 1.2MB) / PDF (273KB)

If you are an older person living in a rural area, or if you know an older rural dweller we would love to hear from you. What are your experiences of living in a rural location, both positive and negative? If you would like to share your experience with us, you should contact the Age NI Policy team on 028 9024 5729 or email

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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