A project is to be launched in Derry today that will aim to overcome the social isolation of older people by getting them involved in local environmental initiatives.
Karen Healy, environmental officer at Creggan Country Park - where the ‘Biodiversity on Your Doorstep’ scheme is based - says the five year project could help around 250 isolated older people in the North West.
“The project will give older people, most of whom will have been referred from local care homes, Folds and community groups, the opportunity to develop new skills, while increasing their confidence and self esteem and helping them to get outside, enjoy nature and become more socially, physically and mentally active,” she said.
“After each workshop there will be social activity such as a meal or a coffee morning, or an activity like arts and crafts or angling.
“This will keep their interest going, and will provide opportunities for them to socialise and further reduce their isolation. We will also have an inter-generational element of the project which will see young people recruited from local schools to build friendships with the older people and assist with activities such as tree planting, community clean-ups and bingo.”
The Derry project is being supported by a Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out Connecting Older People Programme grant of £55,410.
The ‘Biodiversity on Your Doorstep’ project will be officially launched at noon today and will be followed by a free family wildlife event which is open to the public from 1pm – 4pm