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The Big Knit

Age Action | The Big Knit

As many as 2,000 older people in Ireland die needlessly because of complications due to the cold every winter. Many others spend the time lonely and isolated, unable to heat their homes and struggling to get out and about.

  • Back in 2008 Innocent Smoothies had an idea. They asked some older people, and some younger people, to knit little woolly hats. They put those hats on our smoothies, and for each one sold, 30c is given directly to Age Action.

The idea snowballed and so far the people of Ireland have knit an astonishing 325,000 hats, and together we’ve raised over €100,000, and raised awareness of the great work done by Age Action in Ireland.

  1. The money goes towards Age Action's Care and Repair programme, which involves volunteers visiting older people in their homes and providing a DIY service.  The programme runs all year round, but is ramped up over the winter with volunteers doing jobs such as fitting hand rails, changing light bulbs and fitting draught excluders.  It is a service which enables older people to remain living with dignity in their own homes.  The Innocent Big Knit also helps fund Age Action's information service which runs a public information campaign each winter, providing advice for older people on how to remain well and warm at home.

All of our hats are knitted by real people, just like you. We literally couldn't do it without the folks who give up their time (and wool) to help, and we’re enormously grateful. If you’d like to get involved and knit a hat please visit www.thebigknit.ie

How it works

Knitters from across the land send us their little knitted hats between now and December. Innocent put them onto the bottles by hand and send them off to store. For every hatted bottle sold, 30c is donated to Age Action.

Over the years knitting groups, schools &loads of lovely people all over Ireland have generously knitted for the Innocent Big Knit. We'd love people of all ages to get involved from novice knitters to champion clickers, so please spread the word within your local community. If you don't fancy knitting yourself, wool and needles can be donated to Age Action to help others reach their target.

Your hats will help fund Age Action's work with older people in Ireland. While many older people live healthy, happy, fulfilling lives, some older people need a little support to continue to live with dignity.

The Innocent Big Knit funding will help Age Action's winter warmth public information campaign to enable older people remain well and warm in their own homes. It will also go towards their home visitation and DIY teams which assist thousands of older people each year.

Click here for more information and knitting patterns

Age Action | The Big Knit hats

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Raising the Roof - Homes for All Ages

Raise the Roof Rally for Housing 18 May

Preparing to Raise the Roof

Age Action, motivated by intergenerational solidarity, is joining the Raise the Roof campaign to tackle the continuing housing crisis that is affecting people of all ages.  People are being mobilised through trade unions and community organisations, to stage a major national rally on the housing crisis under the banner of Raise the Roof, in Dublin on Saturday May 18.

When people take an interest in what is happening in their local community, seek solutions to problems and initiate improvements they are being active citizens. Community is the foundational building block of society and housing is fundamental to community. Ireland’s housing crisis is rightly dominating public discourse as it undermines our ability to live with dignity as part of a community.  Ireland’s changing demographic brings with it a changing demand for homes that meet the needs of an ageing population.

The Government’s failure to deliver on a whole of Government approach to ageing and provide good quality social housing to meet demand has resulted in older people feeling subjected to negative, ageist language about their needs and wishes for suitable housing and health supports as is evidenced in the narrative on ‘down-sizing’ or ‘right-sizing’.

In the 60s and 70s the State implemented policies to support owner occupation of housing. People on lower incomes were able to buy their own homes which went some way to addressing wealth inequalities. According to Professor Tony Fahey, writing in Social Justice Ireland’s book ‘From Here to Where?’, by the year 2000 even low-income households owned substantial housing wealth and were less disadvantaged by inequalities in housing wealth than they were by inequalities in income.

Most of the growing population of young private renters today grew up in homes that were owned by their parents. Prof Fahey identified the essential features of secure long-term housing as being affordable, and having secure tenure. As he says, “today’s private rented housing has neither of these features”.

Looking at the future needs of an ageing population, for those aged 50-54 almost 10% were renting from private landlords at the time of Census 2016. It can be assumed that these people will continue in the rental market beyond their working years which leaves them in a vulnerable situation.

We encourage any and all of you who can to be active citizens and march with us on Saturday May 18 in a show of intergenerational solidarity. We will be gathering at 1pm at Parnell Square. You will find us behind an Age Action banner. At 2pm we will march down O'Connell Street towards Custom House Quay and join the Rally for Housing (location to be confirmed) by 3pm.

For more information about the campaign visit www.raisetheroof.ie