Minister Catherine Byrne assumes responsibility for Seniors Alert and Volunteering Schemes

Published on Monday, 15 May 2017
Minister of State Catherine Byrne

Catherine Byrne TD, Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy today (15 May 2017) assumed responsibility for the Seniors Alert Scheme and the Scheme of Supports for Volunteering.

At the launch today of Volunteer Ireland’s Report on Impact of Volunteering on Health and Well-Being of Volunteers, Minister Byrne said: “I am delighted to be assuming responsibility for both of these really important programmes. This Government’s commitment to older people and indeed, the Seniors Alert Scheme, is demonstrated by the commitment in the Programme for Government, which provides for significant investment in the Scheme to provide additional safety and peace of mind for those living at home. I am delighted to have the opportunity to develop the Scheme, through which more than 7,200 older citizens received a personal monitored alarm in 2016”

Minister Byrne went on to say that “In addition, the funding and support provided to voluntary organisations is designed to strengthen and foster volunteerism in Ireland, building from the bottom up”.

She added: “A key determinant of the health of society is the degree to which individuals are prepared to come forward to give of their own time, on a voluntary basis.  This essentially sums up the ethos and value of volunteering.  Last year, almost 15,000 new volunteers registered with volunteer centres to find volunteer work. I am very pleased, at the start of National Volunteering Week, to take up the mantle of this important area of work and I look forward to working closely with all stakeholders to drive forward the volunteering agenda”

Seniors Alert Scheme
The Seniors Alert Scheme encourages community support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms, enabling them to continue to live securely in their homes and communities with confidence, independence and peace of mind.

Supports for volunteering
The objective of the Community and Voluntary Supports and Programmes is to provide a cohesive framework of support for the community and voluntary sector. As part of this programme, the Department supports a range of volunteer centres and volunteer information services nationwide, along with a number of national organisations such as Volunteer Ireland and Young Social Innovators.

ENDS

Note for Editors:
Seniors Alert Scheme
The objective of the Seniors Alert Scheme is to encourage community support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable older persons, of limited means, to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind.  Funding is available under the scheme towards the purchase of equipment by a registered organisation i.e. personal alarm and/or pendant.

Responsibility for the management and administration of the scheme transferred from the Department to Pobal in September 2015.  The Department retains responsibility for the strategic policy direction of the Scheme.

A provision of €2.3m has been allocated to the scheme in 2017.

The Programme for Government provides for significant investment in the Seniors Alert Scheme to provide additional safety and peace of mind for those living at home.

  • In 2016 7,219 alarms were installed;
  • As of the end of 2016, a total of 568 organisations had been approved to apply for SAS supports on behalf of participants;
  • Two thirds (67%) of all SAS participants are female and half of all participants are over the age of 80;
  • Two thirds (68%) of participants were living alone;
  • Over half of all participants cited an existing health concern as one of the reasons for applying to the SAS;
  • 13% of participants said ‘fear of crime’ was a reason for applying to the scheme. This figure was highest in rural areas and among participants who were living alone;
  • Over two thirds (67%) of organisations are unincorporated associations and well over half (55%) classified themselves as neighbourhood watch or community alert groups.

Further information on the Seniors Alert Scheme can be found at www.pobal.ie , by email  onlinesupport@pobal.ie or by telephone (01) 511 7222.

Scheme of Supports for Volunteering
The Department’s Community & Voluntary Supports & Programmes provide a cohesive framework of support for the community and voluntary sector. This programme supports volunteer centres and volunteer information services nationwide, as well as a number of national organisations such as Volunteer Ireland and Young Social Innovators.

The funding of all these organisations is designed to strengthen and foster volunteerism in Ireland, building a support structure for volunteering locally from the bottom up. This is a key to the Department’s citizen engagement objectives and supports the spirit of participation in communities.

Provision of €3.5m has been made to support this programme in 2017.

  • In 2016, almost 15,000 new people registered with volunteer centres to find volunteer work
  • 18,400 individual volunteers accessed volunteer centre services in 2016
  • The work of volunteer centres resulted in 6,818 volunteer placements in 2016 with 488,945 volunteer hours created