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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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Age Action Calls for €9 per week Rise In Old Age Pension in Budget 2020

Organisation also proposes that Government commission research on the Cost of Ageing to ensure policy meets needs of ageing population

Age Action, the advocacy organisation for older people, has called for the state’s Old Age Pension to increase by €9 per week in Budget 2020. The call was made at today’s Pre-Budget Forum, which is being organised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is being held in Dublin Castle’s Conference Centre.

Celine Clarke, Age Action’s Head of Advocacy and Communications, said that a €9 increase in the weekly Old Age Pension would be a key step in building towards the Government’s own commitment that the pension should be set at 35% of average weekly earnings.

“The National Pensions Framework was published almost 10 years ago and it committed the Government to benchmarking the Old Age Pension at 35% of average weekly earnings. In order to move the current pension payment towards the delivery of that target, we are calling on the Government to increase the weekly pension payment by €9,” Celine Clarke said.

Ms Clarke provided additional context to Age Action’s call for a €9 per week pension rise, when she explained that in 2009, the weekly income for pensioners depending on the State – when all the benefits were added together – was €265.44, this year it’s €273.63 – only €7.89 higher than it was higher than it was 10 years ago. 

“While pensions have increased by a welcome €5 per week over the last few years, there is no clear and transparent formula informing these increases, and Ireland is also unusual in setting the pension rate in the budget every year. Age Action is urging the Government to consider applying a triple lock formula for pension increases – namely, guaranteeing that the basic State pension will rise by a minimum of either 2.5%, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth, whichever is the larger.”

In addition to the proposals on pension increases, Age Action is also calling for:

  • The commissioning of research by Government on the Cost of Ageing to inform the development of policy so that the country can meet the needs of our ageing population – a similar exercise has been carried out in relation to the Cost of Disability;
  • Increase the income threshold for all means-tested benefits in line with increases to the Old Age Pension and secondary benefits;
  • Increase the Living Alone Allowance by €5 per week;
  • Increase the Fuel Allowance rate by €2.35 and reintroduce a 32-week payment period.

Pre-Budget Submission to Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

ENDS