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Bank blitzes backyards to help older people

Published 14/07/2017

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Age Action and Bank of Ireland today took part in the Great Bank of Ireland Backyard Blitz, which will see hundreds of bank volunteers swapping their calculators for watering cans and their spreadsheets for spades to give their older neighbours a ‘dig out’ in the garden.

Bank of Ireland volunteers ready for the Backyard Blitz
Bank of Ireland volunteers ready for the Backyard Blitz

The gardening bonanza matches up bank employees with local older people who need a bit of help keeping their gardens maintained.

During the two-day initiative, hedge-trimming, hoe-wielding, flower-planting teams of volunteers will swarm over a staggering 125 gardens in Dublin, Cork and Galway. No job is too big or too small for the 300 plus volunteers who will be taking part in the gardening blitz.

Every weed pulled, flower planted and gate painted means a lot to older people who are very proud of their gardens, but often struggle to keep them maintained.

Bank of Ireland is delighted that Age Action is one of their three flagship charity partners and the Backyard Blitz is one of a programme of initiatives on which the bank will support Age Action.

The wider programme combines volunteering, fundraising and financial support, as well as providing teaching on the basics of the internet and digital world through Tea & Teach sessions.

Blitz by the numbers

Speaking on the initiative, Backyard Blitz Ambassador Alan Brogan said, “I am delighted to be the Ambassador for the Great Bank of Ireland Backyard Blitz initiative.

Over the two days, there will be some great work done to help older people in the community who may not be able to manage the upkeep of their gardens themselves.

It’s great to see employees come together to make a difference and I’ve no doubt it will be a very successful two days.”

Commenting on Backyard Blitz, Justin Moran, Age Action said; “We are delighted to be teaming up with Bank of Ireland.  The demand from our members and clients has been unbelievable.

There’s already huge excitement about teams of volunteers coming to help out and I can guarantee they’re going to get a really warm welcome.”

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World Refugee Day

 Today, June 20th is World Refugee Day. The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018. This is the highest level that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has seen in its almost 70 years. Data from UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, released this week shows that almost 70.8 million people are now forcibly displaced. To put this in perspective, this is double the level of 20 years ago, 2.3 million more than a year ago, and corresponds to a population between that of Thailand and Turkey.   Today, older refugees make up some 8.5 per cent of the overall population of concern to UNHCR, and by 2050 more of the world will be over 60 than under 12. Older refugees experience an additional burden due to their age and associated conditions. In a report published by the Centre for Policy on Ageing and Age UK, they identified that “the main issues facing older refugees and asylum seekers are low income, the language barrier, the risk of loneliness and a lack of social networks, and possibly a loss of social status”.  Reduced mobility and a high number of chronic medical conditions also greatly impact the life of an older refugee, as adequate and culturally appropriate healthcare is often difficult to access. As well, throughout their time in refugee shelters, older refugees are also more likely to experience social disintegration, the impact of negative social selection and chronic dependency on the resources of refugee shelters. According to the International Federation on Ageing “The contributions of older refugees can have far-reaching impacts on the preservation of the cultures and traditions of disposed and displaced people. The wisdom and experiences of older refugees must be harnessed through formal and informal leadership roles, to improve the welfare of all refugees”. Marion MacGregor, writing for InfoMigrants says “Older refugees can be seen as an asset, rather than simply requiring special care. In many families, it falls to them to look after children so that their parents can work….. Older people are transmitters of culture, skills and crafts that are important in preserving traditions of displaced people. The resilience of older people can help to strengthen communities and they can contribute to positive and peace-building interactions with the local host communities.”    

You might be due a tax refund

 

 

Revenue wants to make sure that everyone knows about the tax credits, reliefs and exemptions they are entitled to. Revenue wrote to some people recently telling them that they might be entitled to a tax refund going back as far as 2014.
If you think that you might also be due a tax refund for the year 2014, you need to submit a claim to Revenue before midnight on 31 December 2018. If you don’t want to miss out, submit your claim to Revenue before then.