8th October 2014

The Mayor and the Age Friendly City Region Partnership today launched the Mighty Oak Ambassador programme, the next stage in progressing the World Health Organisation Age Friendly Initiative in the North West.  The Age Friendly City Region is an objective of the One Plan and is being taken forward with support from Ilex and Derry Healthy Cities to ensure older people’s views, opinions and skills are harnessed in the overall design of a region that is preparing for the needs and opportunities of an ageing population. 

The Mighty Oak Ambassador programme is encouraging older people in Derry and Strabane to become ambassadors for their generation by engaging with their peers in the community, highlighting their concerns and ensuring active participation in the regeneration of the region. 

The Mayor, Cllr Brenda Stevenson said: “The Mighty Oak Ambassador Scheme will give older people a voice and provide active ambassadors who relate to the unique concerns of their peers.  As a strong supporter of the Age Friendly City Charter I am aware that older people often feel isolated and neglected, and face a range of challenges that can seriously impinge on their quality of life. I would encourage people to engage with the programme and help tackle the issues that impact daily on their lives”.

Chair of the Age Friendly steering group, Phil Mahon said: “An Age Friendly society is one that is designed with and by older people.  Meaningful engagement with older people is core to the Age Friendly process and the Mighty Oaks will be a key vehicle through which to achieve that engagement.  This is an excellent opportunity for our older citizens to shape and improve the ageing experience”.

Ilex’s Director of Strategy & Regeneration Gerard McCleave said: “The promotion of Active Ageing and harnessing the full potential, talents and expertise of our older population is a key element of the One Plan and this is another important milestone in achieving that goal.  The Mighty Oak Ambassador programme is vital to build on our support networks, facilitate conversations with older people and feedback their needs to service providers.  We must ensure everyone takes responsibility to improve the quality of life for older people in our communities and that older people have the opportunity to participate fully in the regeneration of our city and region”.

The Ambassador programme is funded by the Public Health Agency and is housed within local charity, Derry Healthy Cities (DHC).  Eamon O’Kane, Director with the DHC Group said “The Mighty Oak programme will create a position of importance and recognition for the needs and ambitions of our ageing population in Derry and Strabane.  I would encourage anyone who thinks they could be a champion for older people to make contact with us under the Programme”.

For further information or to become an ambassador, please email agefriendly@derryhc.com or phone 028 7161 1384.  #FoyleAgeFriendly