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Get Up, Get Out … Volunteer!

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Get Up, Get Out … Volunteer!

The G6 (Greater Belfast Seniors Forum) all volunteers, with an average age of 70, exists to be the voice of older people in the City.  These are people who have lived through the most recent and most turbulent period of the ‘troubles’   On all ‘sides’ they have experienced a range of trauma and distress and have learned a great deal through this experience.   They have the status and capacity to offer positive role models and to challenge attitudes and negative stereotypes in their own communities and beyond.

The G6 is known as an effective consultative group and its views and opinions are sought regularly by policy makers from statutory agencies and a range of other government and voluntary bodies.   They are a conduit for meaningful conversations and a channel through which older people can exercise some influence on the high-level policies and decisions that impact on local people and the services that are vital to them.

Rita Murray, Chairperson of the G6 explains:  “All of our volunteers are of a certain age, we are children of the post war era, survivors of the ‘troubles’, fighting the afflictions of older age, some battling the adversity of poverty and all of us contesting older people’s exclusion from modern society.   We are determined to challenge the modern narrative that implies we ‘cost more than we contribute!’ Far too often we hear that people are living longer, as if that’s a bad thing!  However, this is only part of who we are, every day we contribute to family and working life, we are mentors, role models, tax payers, counsellors, carers.   As older people we have a story, a place in society, we have much to contribute and struggle is only part of our story!”

Within the City, the G6 has proved itself to be an effective forum for consultation, exchange of information and action. These volunteers work hard to take on the issues that impact on the daily lives of older people. They harness their existing expertise, build on it and are determined to pave the way for an Age Friendly Belfast.  They have created this video which highlights their desire to address social isolation and the importance of making connections through volunteering.

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