We work with all older people, including those who are lonely, isolated, frail or ill, homeless, living in poverty, or are facing other difficulties. We provide an integrated system of Support Coordination, Practical Supports, Befriending, a variety of Phone Services, Social Prescribing, Housing with Support, and assistive technology.
We use support plans, provide a point of contact for access to health, social care, housing, transport and other arising needs using technology and other services and activities to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. We have nearly 3000 volunteers throughout the Country who conduct and provide practical supports to older people, visits and phone calls, linking older people into social activity and being a companion.
Our History & Culture
ALONE was founded by Dublin fireman Willie Bermingham in 1977
During the cold winter of 1976, Willie and his colleagues found the bodies of a number of older people in tenements throughout the city. They had died in appalling conditions.
Willie was so shocked by this that he, and a small group of friends and colleagues began distributing food, fuel and blankets to those older people who were most in need.
They also started a campaign to raise awareness of these ‘forgotten old’ in the media and to the government. Today ALONE continues its work providing direct services to thousands of older people as well as campaigning for the rights of older people in our society.
Our Culture – Living Our Values
ALONE has a rich history and over the last 42 years many people have contributed to making ALONE unique. By combining our past experience with the best in new processes and learnings we have developed into the organisation that we are today.
Everyone in ALONE has different skills, backgrounds, value systems and life experiences, but the culture of ALONE expresses what is valued and respected collectively, as a unified organisation. At every level in this organisation, with every policy and every procedure, our culture is turned from words into action.
The ALONE Culture and Ethos in Action is:
CEO and Board
Chief Executive Officer
After a career within the private sector, Seán moved to the NGO sector 20 years ago, working as Head of Housing and then Director of Service for the Simon Community.
He went on to work as a Project Manager and consultant , working with many NGOs for a number of years before becoming Chief Executive of ALONE.
During this time ALONE has become the national organisation providing services for older people, with a reputation for developing and providing innovative services with staff and volunteers to meet emerging needs. ALONE aims to ensure that all services work to scalable, integrated models that share knowledge and use technology to best support older people to maintain their health and wellbeing. As well as providing services directly, ALONE works closely with hundreds of partner organisations and supports older people to engage with a broad range of services, providing holistic support and crossing sectoral divides to solve problems. Throughout Seán’s time at ALONE, the number of people supported has increased from 200 to more than 12,000, and ALONE continues to expand and develop its services nationwide.
ALONE Board Members
Joe Sheehy is Chairperson of ALONE’s Board of Trustees. He has been a Trustee of ALONE since 2014. As well as his role as Chairperson, Joe sits on the Governance/Services subcommittee.
Currently Global Brewing & Governance Director with Diageo, Joe has had a career in manufacturing & global governance for 30 years. He began as a trainee brewer with Guinness Ireland and later became a Master Brewer for the Guinness Group. He has worked with this company in Ireland, UK, Nigeria and USA over this period. Key strengths which he brings to ALONE are strong governance and strategic planning delivery.
In addition Joe has a lifelong record of volunteering in the charity sector alongside his professional career, from assisting after-school homework clubs in inner city areas to taking 3 years out of manufacturing and working in Bangladesh and Somalia.
Married with 4 children and living in Dublin, Joe aspires to help ensure that ALONE delivers for growing numbers of older people in need without any dilution of the wonderful ethos of the organisation and of the quality of the services provided.
Eddie Matthews is Vice Chairperson of ALONE’s Board of Trustees. He became a member of the board in 2014. Eddie also sits on the Governance and Services Sub-committee.
Eddie spent 40 years working in the Irish Health Services until retiring in 2011. During that time he worked in Acute General Hospitals and held a number of senior management positions including Director of Services for Older People and National Planning Specialist for Social Inclusion. He continues to work in a part time capacity as a Health and Social Care Specialist, working with a various organisations on health service planning and development issues such as general social inclusion, homelessness, addiction and older people.
As well as Chairing ALONE’s Board of Trustees, Eddie is also Chairperson of the Ana Liffey Drug Project and a board member of Coolmine Therapeutic Community Addiction Service. His depth of knowledge on the complex issues facing older people in Ireland is a major asset for ALONE.
Annette is the board’s current secretary, a position she has held since 2012. She began as an ALONE volunteer in 2006, and worked her way up the ranks of the organisation, becoming a volunteer mentor and member of ALONE’s volunteer leadership in 2011. Annette has a strong background in advertising: she previously worked as head of client service and account director before becoming a freelance account director. She has an MSc in Advertising from Dublin Institute of Technology and previously lectured on this subject in DIT.
Eimear is an experienced Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with a broad set of financial, strategic and people management skills. A chartered accountant, she is co-founder and CFO of Vivid Edge Limited, a start-up whose goal is to change the way energy efficiency projects are funded and structured globally.
Eimear has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University College Dublin, a Masters in Accounting from The Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.
Eimear has been involved in voluntary work for many years and is very interested in positive ageing. She has brought her expert skills in finance and management to ALONE since initially joining the Board of Trustees as an observer in 2015. Eimear sits on the Finance Sub-Committee.
Ed Sibley was appointed Deputy Governor, Prudential Regulation on 1 September 2017. He is an ex-officio Member of the Central Bank Commission and is also a member of the Supervisory Board of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). As Deputy Governor, Prudential Regulation, Ed is responsible for leading the supervision of credit institutions, insurance firms and the asset management industry.
Prior to this appointment, he was Director of Credit Institutions Supervision, responsible for overseeing the Central Bank’s supervisory work for all banks and credit unions operating in Ireland. He joined the Central Bank in 2012 in the Banking Supervision area. Ed has more than 20 years’ experience working in the financial services sector. His previous experience includes working for the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) leading the supervision of European banks operating in the UK; and a variety of risk management roles in Bank of Ireland and PwC.
Ed has an MBA from Smurfit Business School, and a first class honours BA Economics degree.
Ciarán has been involved in Geriatric Medicine for over 20 years and is a senior Consultant in Geriatric and General Medicine at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.
In addition to his clinical role, he helped establish specialist multidisciplinary care teams and services for older people at Beaumont Hospital and St Joseph’s Hospital, Raheny. Dr Donegan and his teams are committed advocates for supporting older people to age in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. He has also been involved in helping promote healthy active ageing for all older people. Dr Donegan is actively involved in medical education and teaching, and lectures in Geriatric Medicine at RCSI.
Ciarán Donegan was a member of the National Council for Ageing and Older People (NCAOP) from 2002 until 2005, and was the Chair of the NCAOP from 2005 until 2010. He was also a Director in Age & Opportunity from 2005 until 2010. He is currently a Board Member of Beaumont Hospital Foundation since 2010. Dr Donegan began his work with ALONE as an observer on ALONE’s Board of Trustees in 2015 and sits on the Service & Governance Sub-committee.
Sarah McDonnell has been working in the construction industry for over 20 years and is currently the Head of Interiors with Ardmac. In her career, Sarah has worked on a wide range of schemes overseeing all project management processes from purchase through to design development and construction completion.
As well as managing multiple commercial projects, Sarah also took a year out in the early 2000s, volunteering her time and expertise to build schools and infrastructure in Afghanistan with the Irish charity Goal, supporting communities disrupted by war. An active member of her local community, Sarah and her young family enjoy supporting events and activities with their wide network of friends and neighbours. Sarah sits on the Finance Sub-Committee.
Siobhán Hamilton is Global Commerical Director, GUINNESS. She has over 20 years’ experience working across Marketing and General Management roles in Ireland, Australia and South East Asia. She has extensive experience working across brand, corporate and customer communications, strategy development, creating new business models in new markets. She also was a board member for GAPL.
Siobhan holds a Masters in Occupational Psychology from University College Cork.
Siobhan is married with 3 children Finn 12, Niamh 10 and Libby 6, a dog and a hamster. She spends much of her spare time supporting her children’s sporting and dancing endeavours. She is a mentor to her children’s GAA teams, a qualified level 2 swimming official and a novice Irish Dancing mum!
With a passion for running, and a part time interest in triathlons Siobhan loves the outdoors.
Siobhan joined the board in 2018, and sits on the HR and Communications sub-committee. Her focus is on ensuring that the ALONE communications strategy delivers the very best in service of older people.
Mark Mulqueen is the CFO in KPMG. A chartered accountant, he has over 20 years’ experience in roles including Private Equity, Finance, Operations and Business Transformation and has a strong background in strategic planning and delivery.
Mark has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from University College Dublin, a Diploma in Commercial Law from the Law Society of Ireland and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Married with 3 children and living in Dublin, he is very involved in his local community and aside from being a mentor on his children’s GAA teams, is also Treasurer to the Kilmacud Crokes Coiste na Nóg Committee for the past 4 years.
Mark is a strong advocate for healthy and active living and is very interested in positive aging. Mark joined ALONE’s Board of Trustees in 2018 and also sits on the Finance Sub-Committee.
Mary has 36 years’ experience working in the health service. She is a registered nurse and midwife and has worked in senior nursing positions as a Clinical Nurse Manager, Assistant Director of Nursing and Director of Nursing in Beaumont Hospital, Peamount Healthcare, and Connolly Hospital. She holds a Bachelor of Nursing Studies, post graduate Diploma in Management, Post graduate Certificate in Neurosciences, Masters in Quality and Safety in Healthcare and a Diploma in Coaching for Performance.
Mary also worked within acute hospital services as the CEO in Connolly Hospital, and in CHO 9 Dublin North City and County in several roles as Area Manager, Head of Social Care and as Chief Officer. In these roles she was the accountable officer for significant budget of 720 million and the delivery of health and social care services to a population of 620,000 people. Within her remit was responsibility for primary care, mental health and social care services including disability and older person services. Mary retired from the health service in 2019 and now does healthcare consultancy.
She returned to the HSE in March 2020 to assist during COVID 19 crisis, taking a National Lead in setting up the self-isolation services and the step-down facility in City West. She returned again to the HSE in April 2021 to assist with the National Vaccination Programme.
She has served as a board member of Grangegorman Development Agency and is currently a Non-Executive Director/Board member of Pieta, serving on the Fundraising Committee and Clinical and Advocacy Committee.
Kevin worked in banking and finance in various organisations throughout the country. His interests include tennis, squash, golf and golf club administration. He has also been involved in school Boards of Management and the Society of St Vincent de Paul since 1960.
When he arrived in Dublin in 1983 he met the charismatic Willie Bermingham and became a volunteer. He was made a trustee by him shortly before his death. Kevin worked as a volunteer until 2004 and was responsible for the Trust’s advertising as well as producing occasional hard copy Newsletters and helped produce the booklet ‘About ALONE’. He left for the wilds of Donegal in 2004 and ceased to be a full board member in 2010 and was then pleased to accept the position of ‘Honorary Trustee’
Quality and Transparency
A Message from Seán Moynihan,
ALONE’s Chief Executive Officer
I would like to assure you that in ALONE, we take a leadership position around transparency and accountability.
We have a strong ethos around how we manage money which has been donated. At every level in this organisation, with every policy and procedure, our ethos is turned from words into action. We ensure the best use of all the support we get. Without this support, whether it be time offered, money donated or skills shared it would not be possible for us to continue our work with the 1 in 5 older people most in need.
We were founded by volunteers 40 years ago to support older people in need and that is what we continue to do today. Volunteers work in every part of the organisation from the Board to frontline services. We respect the generosity and intention of all those who support ALONE because they share our passion to improve the lives of marginalised older people in need.
- In 2019 we renewed our internationally recognised Quality in Befriending Award and were upgraded to receive the Excellence in Befriending Award.
- We were recognised by the 2017 Health Service Executive (HSE) Excellence Awards as an exemplary project improving health and social care services. We successfully passed a HSE audit in 2019.
- In 2019 we attained the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Standard Award.
- We have achieved the Investing in Volunteers Quality standard and renewed it in 2019.
- We comply with the Charities Institutes Ireland Triple Lock Standards, ensuring transparent reporting, good fundraising and governance.
- We have signed up to the Government’s Voluntary Code for Housing Bodies.
- We are an Approved Housing Body (AHB).
- We are a member of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) and we participate in the HAPM (Housing Association Performance Management) survey.
- All of our tenancies are registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to ensure that all of our residents are fully protected by the 2004 Residential Tenancies Act
- We publish an Annual Report which shows the work we do, the outcomes achieved, and our income and expenditure.
- Our Board operates to good practice guidelines for governance and has signed up to the Governance Code.
- Our services are internally and externally audited. Internal audits are carried out at least 3 times per year. Our Quality and Compliance Officer is trained in Internal auditing and periodically conducts internal audits in alignment with ISO 9001:2015 standards. Annual external audits are conducted by ISO auditor.
- We comply with SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice) standards. Our accounts are externally and independently audited.
- ALONE adhere to data protection guidelines and GDPR and we have an ALONE data protection policy.
- In 2019 we passed a governance review by Grant Thornton.
- We are a registered charity – our registered charity number is 20020057.
- An external evaluation of ALONE’s Befriending service was undertaken and the report published in 2015.
- ALONE is currently the host of Befriending Network Ireland (BNI). In 2015 ALONE was the lead in the formation of BNI and the Befriending Network Ireland Advisory Group with representatives from the independent befriending organisations across Ireland.
- In 2016 our Support Coordination service was externally assessed.
- ALONE operates a complaints procedure which can be found here.
- ALONE operates a whistleblowing procedure which can be found here.
We do none of these things because we have to but because we know them to be the right things to do.
We have seen a dramatic increase in demand for our services in recent times and we envisage that demand will continue to rise in the years ahead. We are confident that we can continue to meet the needs of the 1 in 5 older people who are homeless, socially isolated, living in deprivation or in crisis.
We work hard every day to ensure that the vulnerable older people have homes, friendship, comfort, support, security and as much independence as possible.
For me personally, it is a privilege to lead and work in ALONE and in all my actions and decisions, I aim to make the best use of the support we get. Without this support it would not be possible to continue.
I invite anyone who would like more information or clarification on any of the issues mentioned in this letter, to contact us on [email protected] and we will respond promptly.
Chief Executive Officer