Community Transport Service vital for Ballycastle elderly

28 04 2014

Community Transport

 

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called for the DRD Minister to re-instate the required funding to allow the Community Transport partnership to continue to provide the five day service known locally as the ‘Mass run’ .

 Councillor Cunningham continued “In previous years, the Department for Regional Development have been able to find additional funding to meet the increasing demands of the Community Transport partnerships, however without confirmation of this funding the North Coast Community Transport Partnership is facing a funding pressure of £10k per month”

Councillor Cunningham said, ‘I have received a number of representations from concerned elderly residents for whom the morning bus service is an essential social service. I will be asking Moyle Council to lend its support to lobby the DRD Minister to urgently find additional funding for a much valued service which is so vital to people living in Ballycastle and the neighbouring isolated rural communities.”





Update from Northern Trust on Rathmoyle

25 04 2014

SDLP_2[1]

Update received by SDLP Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop on Rathmoyle supported living and Adult Day Centre provision

“The Trust would confirm that in respect of the development of a supported living facility on the site negotiations are continuing with a housing association to progress the development.  This has not progressed as quickly as we would have anticipated and we would hope to see the development commence within the 2015/16 new build programme.  The Trust remains fully committed to securing this provision for the benefit of the local population.

 This development is separate from the Rathmoyle Adult Centre provision on the same site. The Trust met with families of people who attend the adult centre in September 13 and advised them that the timeframe for any redevelopment of the supported living scheme would be in the 2015/16 programme. They indicated their preference for the retention of the current day care facility. We indicated that we would seek to facilitate both a supported living development and the retention of the current day care facility on the site. We also very clearly assured those who use the day centre and their relatives of our commitment that future plans will ensure that their need for day care continues to be met.”

 





Age Discrimination Update

12 04 2014

 Stop Age Discrimination 2

email from Age NI

Hello Donal,

Thank you for meeting us at the SDLP conference in November last year.

We wanted to share some important news with you since we met.

The Assembly Executive has promised to introduce a law to end age discrimination when accessing things like healthcare, mortgages, bank loans, car insurance and travel insurance.

We know that with the help of you and your party we can help make sure that the Executive keeps this promise and introduces the law that will help older people participate more fully in society.

Help us put a stop to age discrimination:

 





Check your entitlement to free insulation

24 06 2013

 

insulation_rolls1

Ballycastle  SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has urged members of the local community especially the elderly to check out their possible entitlement to free insulation up to a maximum value of £800 under a scheme funded by the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP).The Insulation package includes; loft insulation up to the recommended 300mm, cavity wall insulation, hot water tank jacket and 4 energy light saving bulbs.

“61.5% of older people are living in fuel poverty that figure rises to 83% for older people, so it is particularly important that older people check out their possible entitlement”

Power NI are offering cavity wall and loft insulation for free, potentially helping to homeowners and private tenants save up to £150 a year off your energy bills.

The scheme is available on a first come first served bases to single person with an income or pension less than £18,000 per year gross, couples with an income of less than £25,000 gross per year, single parent families with an income of £25,000 or less and single person or couple households aged over 70 with a pension of less than £30,000 gross.

Applications can be made via the Age NI website and Councillor Cunningham is more than happy to assist applicants with the process.





‘Support for the Moyle Community Sector ‘ required to combat impact of cuts

19 01 2013

Calling for greater joined up thinking up between central Government Departments and local government, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham said “In areas like Moyle we need to work together to support the strengthening of social relationships and improve people’s sense of wellbeing”

 “Moyle has many community and voluntary groups working across many sectors including health, recreation, sport, community development and the environment. Government needs to properly value their contribution and support their programmes of activity”

 “While Community programmes cannot substitute for the proper investments that are needed to transform local economies, they are helping people weather the recession, which we know is most likely to be felt for longer in marginal areas like Moyle.”

 “Ordinary local people need to be encouraged to protect communities from the worst impacts of impending spending cuts, I have seen at first had how the newly formed Ballycastle Community Development Group has been able to turn ‘strangers into neighbours”.

 The benefits of having strong networks embedded within communities include better health outcomes, lower levels of reported crime and anti-social behaviour.

 “The more we strengthen local assets – and people here are key- the more we will equip our communities to self-organise, help young people find opportunities, and bridge the vast gaps left by Government spending cuts.”





Check your entitlement to free insulation.

11 01 2013

Old People Heating

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has urged members of the local community especially the elderly to check out their possible entitlement to free insulation up to a maximum value of £800 under a scheme funded by the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP).The Insulation package includes; loft insulation up to the recommended 300mm, cavity wall insulation, hot water tank jacket and 4 energy light saving bulbs.

“61.5% of older people are living in fuel poverty that figure rises to 83% for older people, so it is particularly important that older people check out their possible entitlement”

Power NI are offering cavity wall and loft insulation for free, potentially helping to homeowners and private tenants save up to £150 a year off your energy bills.

The scheme is available on a first come first served bases to single person with an income or pension less than £18,000 per year gross, couples with an income of less than £25,000 gross per year, single parent families with an income of £25,000 or less and single person or couple households aged over 70 with a pension of less than £30,000 gross.

Applications can be made via the Age NI website and Councillor Cunningham is more than happy to assist applicants with the process.

 





Dealing with Dementia

5 01 2013

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called on those who will be responsible for the implementation of any of the recommendations which flow from the “Transforming Your Care” review to remain faithful to the regional Dementia Strategy which was published in November 2011. The strategy identified a number of areas where improvements needed to be made in the way we provide care for people with dementia.

Councillor Cunningham said “The strategy focused on improving understanding and early diagnosis, and on the need for support and training for staff as well as supporting  the independence of those affected by dementia”

“There is no doubt that we have an ever-increasing elderly population and it is estimated that the number of people aged over 85 will double in the next two decades. Advances in medical research, cutting-edge treatments and improvements in care have all played a major part in increasing life expectancy; however, the positive impact on physical health can be severely undermined by the progressive and incurable causes of dementia.”

With a predicted 25% increase in the number of dementia sufferers in the next two decades, there is no denying the extent of the problem and the need for committed focus in tackling the issues. Poor diagnosis along with low levels of understanding and awareness of dementia has contributed to the crisis.

http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/improving-dementia-services-in-northern-ireland-a-regional-strategy-november-2011.pdf





Cunningham encourages older people to find out what they are entitled to

3 12 2012

 

 Older-ladies-keeping-warm

With up to £2.3 million of Pension Credit unclaimed every week, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham is encouraging older people to find out what benefits they are entitled to.

He added “The problem is that many older people don’t know what they are entitled to; very often the complexity of the benefit system puts people off; and many find the benefits system too complicated”.

 However there are many advice services only too willing to assist.

 “I would encourage older people to contact the Age NI Advice Line on freephone 0808 808 7575 for a free benefits check. An Age NI advisor will speak to them in confidence and help them find out what they are entitled to. Alternatively Councillor Cunningham can be contacted on 07745168922 to assist with any enquiries”





Councillors support “Maximising Access in Rural Areas” Project

4 11 2012

 

Moyle SDLP Councillors Catherine McCambridge and Dónal Cunningham have voiced their support for the MARA Maximising Access in Rural Areas” Project.

The project aims to improve the health and wellbeing of rural dwellers by increasing access to services, grants and benefits.

The MARA project will proactively target vulnerable households in identified rural communities using a community development approach. It seeks to increase access to home improvement schemes, access to full Benefit Entitlement checks, access to a range of local services and to community transport.

The programme is being run by North Antrim Community Network within the following electoral areas of Bonamargy, Rathlin, Glenshesk, Carnmoon, Dunseverick, Moyarget, Armoy, Mosside, Ballylough, Bushmills, Glenann, Glendun and Glenarriffe. To find out if you are eligible, contact North Antrim Community Network, Old School House, Mill Street, CushendallBT44 0RR    Tel 028 21772100





Pensioners Discount Day

27 10 2012

SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has voiced his support for Age Sector Platform’s latest campaign, which calls on food retailers to introduce a pensioner ‘Discount Day’ in order to help older shoppers cope with the rising cost of living and enable them to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

 The campaign has been prompted by one of the most popular motions passed at the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament earlier this year.
Anne Watson from Age Sector Platform commented: “ Drastic increases in food prices, and the older population’s inability to keep pace, has meant affording the weekly shop is a constant worry for many older people.  At present, one in five pensioners in Northern Ireland is living in poverty.  Rising food prices will push even older people towards this hardship line.”
Ms Watson continued: “It has been proven that older people spend a higher proportion of their income on food than any other age group; with someone over 75 spending almost twice as much on food than someone under 30.  This means older people are finding it harder to keep up with hikes in food prices, and why we are calling on food retailers to introduce a pensioner discount day to enable older people to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.”

 Recent figures revealed that average food prices rose by 26% between June 2007 and June 2011 whereas over the same period the state pension only increased by 17%.