Sixteen Longford town businesses were lauded for their age-friendly efforts last Wednesday at the launch of Longford Age Friendly Business Recognition Programme and Charter Presentation.
Ulster Bank, AIB, Eugene Kenny Clothing, Cullen’s Shoes and Baxter’s Total Health Pharmacy on Main Street; The Baldy Sheep on New Street; The Courtyard Café on Hibernian Court; The Hair Trapp, Spirit Clothing and Spirit Kids on Dublin Street; Unique Boutique, Kanes Travel, Padraig Ward Pharmacy and Specsavers on Ballymahon Street and Loughrey’s Pharmacy, Dublin Street and Harbour Row were all presented with certificates and stickers, which attest to their actions in making the premises more accessible for older members of the community.
Revealing that he turned fifty in May, Head of Local Enterprise, Michael Nevin shared his own experience with ageing, much to the amusement of the crowd gathered at Longford County Council.
“I got an insurance form, I think it was in July or August, and I had to tick a box on it and there were two categories on it. One was 35 - 49 and the next box was 50 - 64 and to think about the psychological impact of that…” he laughed, before highlighting the importance of the initiative.
“It’s great that you’re thinking about actions because we’re all growing older, we’ve a growing older consumer segment and it’s important that we cater for their needs,” he added.
Paying tribute to Co Librarian Mary Reynolds, Lisa Brady from Longford Chamber of Commerce and Janine Bartley, Longford Age Friendly County Programme, he then introduced Chief Executive of Longford County Council and the Chair of Longford Age Friendly Alliance, Paddy Mahon.
“It’s just good and it’s refreshing and inspiring to see so many individual businesses and the Chamber of Commerce here to support and recognise not just the age friendly alliance and the strategy but the reality that there are so many businesses in Longford now that have achieved the age friendly business recognition,” Mr Mahon said, alluding to the huge economic benefit that the initiative could hold.
Those views were shared by President of Longford Chamber of Commerce Derek Scanlon, who admitted he was excited by its potential.
“It’s high time that we were proud enough of what we do and how we do it to shout it from the rooftops: Longford is open for business, Longford wants your business and Longford is age friendly.”
Aisling Costello from Age Friendly Ireland gave examples of the actions taken by Longford businesses, including lowering the sound of music in store, making rails easier to reach and offering special rates before Cathaoirleach of Longford Co Council, Cllr Mick Cahill rounded up the evening ahead of the presentation of awards.
Cllr Cahill began by acknowledging the contribution older people make to their communities, and congratulated local man, Andy O’Dowd for his achievements in the national Tidy Towns competition.
Welcoming the initiative, and expressing his wish that it will spread to other towns throughout the county, Cllr Cahill concluded; “Longford is a great county and together with both the local authority and all the local businesses we can make it a wonderful place to live and it can be a place we can be proud to live in.”