Best. Month. Ever.

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It’s fair to say October’s going to be a bit of a crazy one. I’ve an anthology launch this week, a new novel to edit, I’m selling my house, looking for a new job and heading over to Dundee Book Festival to eat haggis and hang out with Peggy and all her bookish, Scottish friends. Exciting as all this is, the thing I am far and away most excited about is Positive Ageing Month.

Most of you know I love older people and I really love Belfast so having a blank canvas and a whole month to programme events across the city for our over 60s has been pretty much the best job I could possibly think of. We have over 200 fabulous events taking place all across the city: chocolate tasting in the Botanic Palm Houses, an outing on the train to Coleraine, concerts, film screenings, craft workshops, walks, talks, a fabulous bingo and drum circle event, (Bingo Bongo), many, many tea dances, Slipped Disco, (a 60s and 70s disco for older people), pub quizzes, gardening classes, exhibitions, keep fit and cycling, plus guided tours of some of Belfast’s best buildings. I’m actually getting exhausted just thinking about how many brilliant events I get to go to this month. We’re partnering with lots of Belfast’s best venues, cultural and arts organisations so anyone who comes along and enjoys an event should have loads of opportunities to plug into an ongoing programme.

We’d love to see all our events packed out with older people enjoying themselves, making new friends and getting the very best of Belfast but we could do with as much help as possible to get the word out. If you’d like to help, grab one of our brochures from the City Hall or the Welcome Centre and pass it on to one of the older people in your life. You can also download the whole programme at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/positiveageingmonth There are also quite a few of the events which aren’t just for older people and it would be great if some of you wanted to join us, even better if you’d like to bring an older person with you. For those who are a little more isolated or reluctant to leave home, the offer of some company or a lift can often be the difference between coming to an event or staying in by themselves. Older people generally love getting to spend time with people who are younger so we’d love it if our events could be as intergenerational as possible.

We could also do with some help tweeting. More older people than you’d think are using social media and it’s also a really great way of connecting with children and grandchildren who can pass the word on. We’d also love other people to hear about how brilliant P.A.M. so blog and tweet and pass on Facebook posts and help let people know there are lots of positive things about being an older person. We’re using hashtag #PositiveAgeingMonth If you see any tweets coming through we’d really appreciate a retweet. If you’re a photographer and have some spare time we’d also love as many good quality photos of the month as we can get, so give me a wee shout and I can arrange for you to drop into one of our events. Finally, I’ll be using the month as an excuse to write Postcard Stories about older people which you’ll be able to follow here on the blog. (#PostcardsFromPAM).

We’re really excited about Positive Ageing Month. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to offer the older people of Belfast a really quality programme of events. We think they deserve to be honoured, celebrated and included not just in October, but all year round. If you think you could help in any way please get in touch. I’ll see you in November, slightly more exhausted but no doubt full of wonderful stories.

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