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The innocent Big Knit is back and it’s bigger than ever

Published 28/02/2017

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Age Action and innocent drinks have launched the 2017 Big Knit, calling on the knitters of Ireland to produce 100,000 little hats. We’re woolly excited.

Over the past eight years the Irish public and our supporters have knitted an astonishing 390,000 hats and have helped raise €140,000 for Age Action which goes directly to funding our Care & Repair service.

This service supports volunteers carrying out free DIY jobs for older people and helping them stay safe and warm in their homes during our cold Irish winters.

People aged 65 and over are seven times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of colder temperatures, compared with those aged 18 to 44. 

100,000 hats!

From now until 31 July 2017, innocent and Age Action are calling out to veteran knitters and newcomers alike, to pull up a comfy chair, grab their knitting needles & wool and cast-on for this brilliant cause.  

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications, said: “This year we are seriously upping the game. We’re looking for 100,000 hats and to do that we need every knitter in Ireland to get those needles clicking.

“They can be any colour, any design or look and we have plenty of patterns and ideas to spark your imagination at www.thebigknit.ie.”

Star Big Knitter Winnie O'Donoghue
Star Big Knitter Winnie O'Donoghue

Star knitter

Winnie O’Doherty, star knitter for the Big Knit and a member of an Age Action knitting group that meets in our shop on Camden Street every week says:

“I love knitting with the Age Action knitting group. I come here every week; I like the company. We’re great friends and we have a good natter. We really understand each other and give each other some good tips, not only on knitting.”

Bláthnaid McKenna, Brand Manager with innocent drinks Ireland, said: “Now in its 8th year, we're very proud of the Big Knit at innocent drinks as, through it, we've been able to donate €140,000 to Age Action and help older people stay well and warm in winter.

“This year, we’ve decided to make an even bigger difference, so, for the first time since the Big Knit started, we are aiming to put 100,000 little hats on our smoothie bottles.”

The knitty gritty

Every winter, as many as 2,000 older people in Ireland die needlessly because of complications due to the cold.

Last year’s donation of €20,000 funded 24,000 DIY jobs in 34 locations around the country, through Age Action’s Care & Repair programme.

All the hats are hand-knitted by people around Ireland.

From October 2017, the nation’s little hats will appear on innocent smoothie bottles (250ml) across the country. For each bottle sold wearing a little hat, innocent Drinks will donate 30 cent to Age Action.

Hats can be sent to The Big Knit 2017, innocent drinks, Fruit Towers, 2 Ballsbridge Park, Dublin 4 or dropped into any of Age Action’s shops or offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Monaghan. 

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Pension Inequality Firmly on the Election 2020 Campaign Agenda

Age Action joined the SIPTU led coalition of non-governmental organisations for the launch of the STOP67 campaign in Dublin today (Thursday, 23rd January) which aims to halt the increase of the state pension age for workers to 67 from next year in order to address inequalities in the pension system.

Speaking at the formal campaign launch in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in Kildare Street, Dublin, SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, said: “STOP67 is the SIPTU campaign to stop the increase of the state pension age to 67 on 1st January, 2021.

“SIPTU representatives are not surprised this is a major general election issue. We have been hearing from our members since the abolition of the transitional pension scheme in 2014 about the difficulties that the retirement gap has been causing for workers. This includes the absolute indignity of people coming up to 65 years of age who are expecting to get their pension and having to sign on the dole.”

National Women’s Council of Ireland Director, Orla O’Connor, said: “This is a core issue for women. Women rely on the state pension for the vast majority of their income in older age. So, anything that impacts on state pensions disproportionally impacts on women.”

Age Action Chief Executive, Paddy Connolly, said: “This campaign is not only about stopping the rise of the pension age to 67 but also the creation of a stakeholder forum which will consider issues such as finances, age discrimination and others that effect people in their retirement.”

Active Retirement Ireland chief executive, Maureen Kavanagh, said: “Ireland has the youngest population but the highest prospective retirement age in the EU. We are not under the demographic pressure of other countries. Retirement is a great part of life but it has to be voluntary, flexible and appropriate. We can’t force people out of a job that they love, or to stay in their job.”

SIPTU General Secretary, Joe Cunningham, called on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to make clear their position on the pensions issue.

He added: “All the other political parties are supporting the ‘STOP67’ campaign. The big two parties must make their position clear.”