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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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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.”