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Linking Generations charity grants help Co. Armagh groups combat loneliness at Christmas

The small grants of £125 were awarded after a rigorous process, with over 110 entries applying for funding

St Ronan's College and Ozanam Men's Shed, Lurgan

Northern Ireland charity Linking Generations is funding groups in Co. Armagh to run activities to address loneliness amongst the elderly this Christmas.

The charity, based in Newtownards, say their aim is to see a truly “age-friendly” Northern Ireland where all generations are “respected, understood, connected and engaged” in their communities.

They support people across the province in developing inter-generational activities, coordinating a Northern Ireland-wide network with over 880 members, providing training, advice, support, resources and small grants.

The charity’s ‘Christmas Connections’ small grants scheme is funding 20 groups across Northern Ireland to run activities to bring all generations together this Christmas and help combat isolation.

The small grants of £125 were awarded after a rigorous process, with over 110 entries applying for funding. Applications were open to a range of groups including; older people’s groups, care homes, schools, community groups and youth groups.

Five groups in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough area, alongside one based in Newry, have benefitted, with events organised all throughout the month of December.

On December 1, Tassagh Cultural Neighbourhood Association ran a Christmas Party in Tassagh Hall, while on December 4, Collegeland Nursing Home in Armagh had a Christmas Decoration-making Session and Party, an event they hope to run again on December 11.

The care home have linked with Moy Regional Primary School and are using their LGNI grant to bring pupils together with residents to create Christmas crafts, discuss Christmas memories and enjoy festive activities.

Men from Ozanam Men’s Shed in Lurgan have been working with pupils from St Ronan’s College on various activities and used their Christmas grant from LGNI to part-fund a Christmas dinner for all involved. It was also part-funded by Armagh Banbridge Craigavon Policing and Community Safety Partnership.

Also, Health & Social Care students from Southern Regional College in Newry received intergenerational training from LGNI earlier in the year.  They have used their Christmas grant to open the college doors to local older people from the Sunshine Club to enjoy festive activities, treats and a good chat.

Southern Regional College

On Friday (December 8), Spelga Mews Fold in Banbridge held a Christmas craft session with window painting and wreath-making. They are also holding a similar session at Donard School at 11am on Tuesday December 19.

On Wednesday, December 20, North Lurgan Play Group will host a grandparents ‘stay-and-play’ session at North Lurgan Community Centre at 10am.

Vicki Titterington, Director of Linking Generations NI, commented: “Creating opportunities for older and younger people to get together, learn from one another and enjoy each-others company is vital in todays society when generations are usually apart.

“We believe that by taking an intergenerational approach to activities that are already happening benefits can be achieved for all involved whether its educational, addressing loneliness or making people feel valued.  Our wish is for intergenerational connections to be the norm in our communities and happening all year round.”

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