Council Chair hosts reception for the 25th anniversary of South West Age Partnership

7th July 2023

SWAP 25th Anniversary Reception (2)

Recently the Chair of the Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, held a reception to recognise the 25th anniversary of South West Age Partnership.  Below is a copy of the speech delivered by the Chair at the reception:

Councillors, Ladies and gentlemen,

As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all here to The Townhall, Enniskillen for this reception in recognition of the 25th anniversary of South West Age Partnership.

South West Age Partnership was established in 1998, however, at that time it was known as the Senior Citizens Consortium Sperrin Lakeland.  The aim of the organisation was to give older people in the West a voice.

In 2010, the name changed to South West Age Partnership, however, the same structure was retained with the ethos of being a group run by older people for older people.

I believe a key strength of SWAP is  that the Board is made up of older people from our District and you have been elected by your peers, therefore, you are aware of the local issues and you can develop a network of friends locally.  The Board is represented by a Director and Staff on various Committees to ensure that your voice is heard beyond the Council area.

SWAP currently works with almost 100 groups supporting older people and delivering community services and activities to promote positive, active and healthy ageing.  It also connects older people with each other, other generations and key agencies and influencers to transform the lives of older people.

I am pleased that the legacy Fermanagh and Omagh District Councils and currently Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has supported South West Age Partnership throughout the 25 years.

I know you work closely with the Council in relation to the administration of Grant Aid to Older Peoples’ Groups which has been effective and efficient as it has simplified the process for the Groups, which is important.  This Grant Aid is vital for many groups to ensure that they can continue to operate and be able to provide valuable activities and services.

I know you also work closely with our Age Friendly Officer, Sharon Howe, on various initiatives including Positive Ageing Month in October, Happy At Home and the development of a Reminiscence Trail in both Enniskillen and Omagh.  Unfortunately, due to a prior engagement, I was unable to attend the launch of the Omagh trail at Lovers Retreat this week.

The Council is also pleased that Allison Forbes, Manager of South West Age Partnership, currently represents the organisation on the Community Planning Partnership to ensure that your voice and ideas are heard and included within this key Plan for the District.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is committed to ensuring that our older residents live more independent, engaged and socially connected lives.  By working with and supporting South West Age Partnership, we can achieve this outcome.

South West Age Partnership is a key organisation within our District as it provides vital support services and activities to you and all of our older residents which helps to reduce loneliness and isolation and improves emotional and physical wellbeing.  It is also key due to the rurality of our District and as a result it is very important to ensure that the voices and needs of our older people are heard as widely as possible.

I would like to commend Allison Forbes for your ongoing work and commitment to South West Age Partnership and for championing the voice of our older residents and the contribution they continue to make in our District.  Your work has not gone unnoticed – it has made a tangible difference to the lives of so many and is very much appreciated.

I would like to commend the Board and all the Members for your work and participation in activities and for the valuable contribution you make in our District.

Thank you.