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Age Action warning on price of stamps

Published 01/02/2017


An Oireachtas committee was warned last month that another increase in the price of the stamp would create difficulties for many older people and could lead to a drop in the volume of mail.

New legislation will lift the price cap on the cost of stamps and some media reports have indicated this could mean an increase from 72 cent to between 90 cent and a euro. If approved, it would be the third increase in two years.

“I can tell you with absolute certainty that an increase of that magnitude, 25 per cent at the lower end, will certainly be noticed by someone whose sole income is the State Pension,” Age Action’s Justin Moran told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

“It will mean older people making a conscious decision to send fewer letters with a corresponding knock-on effect for postal volumes, which are already in decline.”

The committee also discussed recommendations to strengthen the post office network, including new post office payment accounts, which are due to be introduced shortly.

Blanchardstown Postmaster Geoff Doyle
Blanchardstown Postmaster Geoff Doyle

Under pressure

The network currently has 1,135 post offices and serves around 1.7 million customers every week but more than 200 post offices have closed since 2007 and the network is coming under increasing pressure. Around a third of the remaining post offices may not be sustainable without urgent action.

The popularity of email means fewer letters are being sent and while many pensioners collect their payment in the post office every Friday most new pensioners are choosing to have the money paid into their bank account.

“The report recognises that the post office is an ‘essential service for facilitating communication and interaction in local communities’,” said Mr Moran.

“It is especially important for older people who use the post office to collect pensions, access cash, pay their utility bills, save money, buy stamps and, perhaps most importantly, meet their friends.

“We need to expand the services that post offices provide but we also need to remind people that if they don’t use their local post office, they could lose it.”


Age Action Awarded Investing In Volunteers National Quality Standard

Age Action is delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Investing in Volunteers quality standard. Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is the national quality standard for good practice in volunteer management in Ireland.

The Investing in Volunteers standard assesses the organisation’s volunteering programme in six areas: vision for volunteering, planning for volunteers, volunteer inclusion, recruiting and welcoming volunteers, supporting volunteers, and valuing and developing volunteers. As part of the process, we completed a self-assessment of our volunteering programme, and with the assistance of an Investing in Volunteers mentor, we then put together an improvement plan. Over the course of the assessment forty of our volunteers were interviewed as well as staff and board members.

Every year, hundreds of people volunteer with Age Action in our Getting Started digital literacy programme, and with our Care and Repair DIY Service. We would like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers who bring their time, energy and skills to Age Action and are the reason that our volunteering programme is so impactful. Volunteers are at the heart of our programmes and services at Age Action and without our volunteers we couldn’t fulfil our mission to support older people to live full and independent lives. Achieving the Investing in Volunteers quality standard shows our commitment to providing an experience that reflects how much we value our volunteers.

Here’s what some of our Volunteers said as part of the process:

‘I’ve gained a lot of skills from volunteering.  It has built my confidence in teamworking and communication.’

‘It keeps me active being able to help people and improve their quality of life’. 

‘I think they’ve got it just right with the amount of information to keep you in touch.  The monthly newsletter let’s you see what’s going on”.

“Emails keep you informed.  They are very willing to take suggestions on board, they encourage you to give them feedback’.

Going through the Investing in Volunteers process has helped us to review and improve our volunteering programme in its entirety, from how we recruit, train and support volunteers, to how we communicate with and involve our volunteers at all levels of the organisation. As we celebrate achieving the standard, we reiterate our commitment to providing the best possible volunteering experience for our volunteers who make an incredible difference in the lives of those older people we serve.