Services for socially isolated older men in Belfast
In 2014, with funding from the Public Health Agency, The Men’s Working Group* commissioned Paula Devine, Janet Carter Anand and Lorna Montgomery (School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast) to undertake a review of services for older men (aged 50+) within Belfast. The project had two aims:

  • To review the extent and impact of current community, voluntary, statutory or private sector services which are aimed at combating social isolation among men in the Belfast area. The target group was men aged 50 years or over who have retired, or been unable to work through ill-health, and have become isolated.
  • To identify how these services are meeting current levels of need, and ways in which they may be developed to meet future requirements.

Caoimhe Ní Dhónaill and Laura O’Hagan also worked on the project, and you can view the full report here.

An Age Encounters event in November 2014 focused on this report, and included a presentation on the report by Lorna Montgomery.  John Cooper (Rejuvenate Project, North Belfast) talked aobut his experiences of being involved in a Men’s Shed.

In April 2015, Paula Devine presented the seminar ‘Social isolation and older men: meeting the need?’ in the Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS).  A Policy Briefing paper was written to accompany this seminar.

A journal article ‘Social isolation and older men – learning from research’ (by Paula Devine, Lorna Montgomery, Janet Carter Anand and Caoimhe Ní Dhónaill) was published in Community Development Journal, in July 2017.


*The Men’s Working Group was established by Age Partnership Belfast to support city-wide development of programmes to engage older men and combat social isolation. This working group brings together Volunteer Now, Men’s Health Forum in Ireland, East Belfast Community Development Agency, Engage with Age, North Belfast Senior Citizens Forum, and Rejuvenate Men’s Sheds Project (North Belfast Partnership Board).