Niall Quinn presents an award to ‘Choices Befriending the Elderly’
SHANKILL’S ‘ Choices Befriending the Elderly’ service was presented with an award recently at the Dublin Bus Community Support programme annual lunch in Dublin, presented by Sunderland manager Niall Quinn.
The volunteers received €5,000 towards the running of the local service, which helps up to 50 older people in Shankill, Bray and other neighbouring areas.
Rebecca O’Brien, who works as a community employment supervisor, said a small number of volunteers based at the community centre in Shankill had been providing invaluable assistance to a wide number of individuals.
The elderly can drop in to chat and socialise at the centre or volunteers can visit them in their homes to help them with errands or just ‘be a friend,’ said Rebecca. ‘ Often elderly people can feel stuck in their homes.
‘Sometimes it could be a dodgy hip that prevents them from getting around,’ she said.
The service can provide a companion to go with them to the hospital or shopping, giving practical help as well as company and opportunities to socialise. She explained that some people can become lonely and isolated if a partner dies or children leave home. ‘Some of them say they don’t know what they would do without the service,’ said Rebecca.
Choices have been fundraising for some time towards repairing and overhauling their mini-bus and the grant will be a big help.
Centre co-ordinator Caroline Storey said that socialising is very important for elderly people. ‘Isolation can be horrendous for anyone. No one should be lonely.’