One pint at a time: How the LVA, Guinness and ALONE are helping the elderly

Celebrating 200 years of the Dublin pub and raising some money along the way

If you’ve been in a pub in the city recently, chances are you’ve spotted a new tap beside the Guinness serving Dublin Amber Pale Ale. While it’s always exciting when Guinness launch a new product, this one is particularly special – and not just because the beer is good.

As part of a partnership celebrating the Licensed Vintners Association’s (LVA) 200th anniversary this year, Guinness and the LVA are using Dublin Amber to raise money for the charity ALONE, which does vital work in Dublin communities.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, describes their mission, “The overarching thing we do is help support older people to age at home. We do that with befriending services and also providing a point of contact and support on issues from housing to health to finance.

“The third thing is we provide housing with support to older people who need is and also older people who are homeless.”

In Ireland one in three people over 65 lives alone, and one in ten suffers from chronic loneliness. Sean explains the difference between chronic loneliness and the occasional bouts of loneliness we all feel as, “the difference between someone being sad and someone who has depression.”

He continues, “These are people who might only have contact with one person a day – or nobody at all.

“It becomes like depression, people stop minding themselves, they stop eating and they stop minding the house they live in.

“Then usually what happens is that small things become big things [which leads to] feeling overwhelmed by housing, health or lack of it, and having nobody to talk to about it.

“In an ageing society these problems are getting more acute.”

For these reasons ALONE is as relevant now, if not more so, than at any point in its 40 year history, as it provides not only a sympathetic ear, but also real help, advice and support.

Dublin Amber is available in hundreds of pubs around the capital, and for each pint sold 50c goes straight to ALONE. The goal is to raise €200,000 over the next few months, and as of a couple of weeks ago they were right on target, having hit the €50,000 mark in early June.

LVA Communications Manager Gillian Daly talks about the decision to bring ALONE into the campaign, “There was a shortlist of charities and both Guinness and the LVA felt that ALONE was a really good fit. Especially with their befriending service.

“People go to their local pubs to meet each other, for company and conversation, and ALONE has really great outreach with befrienders who visit people in their homes for the same reason.”

AnnMarie Phillips, Diageo On Trade Director, is equally excited about the project, saying, “We were honoured to be approached by the LVA about creating a beer to celebrate 200 years of the Dublin pub, and delighted with the idea that part of the sales would go to charity.

“Giving is in the DNA of Guinness, and we feel that ALONE is the perfect fit for this partnership. For decades ALONE has been making a real, positive difference to the lives of so many Dubliners and we are privileged to be able to support that.”

Sean is enthusiastic about the partnership and explains how he was brought into the conversation. “We’re both celebrating substantial anniversaries (ALONE turns 40 this year) and the LVA were looking to do something very community based, since the pub is in the heart of the community.

“Ultimately they approached us and asked what would be useful and what would we do with the money.”

ALONE is a volunteer-run organisation, so the money raised from sales of Dublin Amber will go directly into their numerous Dublin-based projects. While the charity works across the country, Sean says that around two-thirds of their work is done in Dublin city.

The money will be used in two main ways, as part of a major recruitment drive for volunteers, with the goal of producing an extra 20,000 hours worth of visits, while the other half will go towards building new houses. ALONE currently houses over one hundred older people, and their goal is to help many more.

The money raised over the course of the next few months will be invaluable in helping ALONE reach their goals and plan for the future, as Sean expects their services will be needed more and more.

“The work we do is very much the outcome of a positive,” he says. “People are living longer, but that also means there’s a higher percentage of people in need of some support – which is what we’re here to do.”

Dublin Amber Pale Ale is available in hundreds of Dublin pubs for a limited time, with 50c from each pint sold going towards ALONE. Find out more about ALONE, including how you can become a volunteer, by visiting their website

Read other news on the city site of Dublin.

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