Why the ‘Voice’ of Older People?
What is it?
The Voice of Older People, Donegal is a County wide network of older people groups and organisations, working to encourage involvement in the issues that affect older people’s health and quality of life. It is based in the Volt House in the Cathedral City of Raphoe.
The main aim of the Voice project is to develop a strong vocal network of older peoples groups; one that is based in local areas, and has the capacity to highlight the reality of getting older in Irish society to the decision makers and policy makers.
The Voice project was started by the HSE Health Promotion service in 2001 and in 2006 became an independent company, and is run by a hard working voluntary management committee and staff team.
The project is based on the principles of community development, and simple but often overlooked belief that older people are in the best position to identify their real concerns and should be at the centre of any process of change which affects them.
The localised networks target all older people especially those in the most excluded areas such as those;
- living in rural isolation
- living alone
- living in the island communities
- from minority communities
There are currently seven local networks and county forum.
The Voice of Older People, Donegal Ltd. is supported by The International Fund for Ireland, Age & Opportunity, the Dormant Accounts Fund, Donegal County Council’s Peace III Programme and it is this ongoing investment that enables our work to take place. However, for the work to develop there is need for continued investment going forward into the future.
The Voice can never be accused of being complacent, the Voice - is at a junction, the society we are now all living in is changing - and the pace of this change has never been faster at any stage before. So for us as an organisation and indeed for everyone, what this means is that we have to keep constantly evolving and adapting to the challenging situations we find ourselves presented with.
But before we can change and develop further in the future, there is a necessity to discover if the needs and issues which were relevant in 2001 are still of central importance today, and to this end there is an onus upon us to reconnect with groups and develop strategic partnerships - so as to make us more effective in what we are doing, and this is something we have being doing in recent months, and now we shall take this learning forward, so that the Voice will be stronger and more visible.