Niall Quinn presents an award to ‘Choices Be­friend­ing the El­derly’

Bray People - - NEWS -

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.’

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