Press Release

AgeWell Summerhill, Co Meath wins an European Economic and Social Committee flagship Civil Society Prize

Posted on 5th March 2024

AgeWell Summerhill, Co Meath wins an European Economic and Social Committee flagship Civil Society Prize

AgeWell, a project of the Third Age Foundation based in Summerhill, Co Meath is among the final five international contenders for the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC’s) 14th Civil Society Prize awarded to non-profit projects supporting mental health.

AgeWell is a social engagement network that improves well-being among older people who are isolated, frail and vulnerable. Using a combination of in-house visits and a smartphone application, it offers companionship and emotional support to those who lack them and identifies health risks at an early stage. AgeWell Companions, trained by Third Age who visit weekly, enrich their own lives as well as those of others.  

AgeWell is funded and supported by The HSE. 

The winners were chosen from over 100 applications from 23 Member States. The total prize money of €50 000 will be shared among the five front-runners. The winner of the first prize will take home €14 000 and the other four finalists will each receive €9 000. The award ceremony takes place on March 7 in Civil Society Week in Brussels.

The Slovakian project promotes compassionate understanding of mental health among young people.   A community centre in Finland offers people with mental health difficulties a nurturing and inclusive environment to enjoy nature and culture.  A second prize-winning Finnish project  has developed two games set in a futuristice world of hope and designed to support mental health. ‘Telling Stories for Good’ from Italy raises awareness among four million people suffering from anorexia by rewriting stereotypical narratives on eating disorders.

Welcoming the news of AgeWell’s achievement, Aine Brady, CEO of Third Age said: ‘AgeWell started as a pilot in 2018, where we began providing weekly visits to older people in and around Summerhill village.  Its success led to its expansion to all of Co Meath.  To date, 510 older people have benefitted. They are typically lonely, frail, at risk, and we support them to remain in their own homes’.

The programme has a number of unique aspects, she says.  ‘Every fortnight our Companions use a 20 Question App with each client so that any changes in physical, emotional and social health are noted, with the client referred as necessary to a range of services.   The App also monitors any new symptoms such as confusion, changes in mobility, falls, decline in appetite, or pain.  This works as an early warning system identifying and addressing health, social and environmental problems before they escalate’. she says.

Each AgeWell client receives a baseline assessment on entering the project and is reassessed every four months.   Assessments invariably show and increase in social engagement, physical activity and a reduction in loneliness.

Alice's AgeWell Joy

Alice's story serves as an inspiration, showcasing the power of a positive mindset and the support systems like AgeWell that enable older individuals to live fulfilling lives. Through the dedication of companions like Eileen, AgeWell continues to make a meaningful difference in the lives of older people, fostering connections and ensuring their well-being


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