‘Don’t feel lonely, join our group’

Chris McClure, funding officer with the Big Lottery Fund, with Lucinda McFall, centre manager at the Larne Community Care Centre and Barbara Ann Gilcrist, Link  Project co-ordinator. INLT 40-001-PSB
Chris McClure, funding officer with the Big Lottery Fund, with Lucinda McFall, centre manager at the Larne Community Care Centre and Barbara Ann Gilcrist, Link Project co-ordinator. INLT 40-001-PSB

Friends got together to launch a new initiative helping older people retain their independence in Larne.

Larne Community Care Centre’s Link Project ‘Friends Together’, supported by the Big Lottery, was unveiled at an afternoon tea celebration in the Town Hall.

Thomas Hamilton from the Music Yard provided the entertainment at the launch of the Link Project and is pictured with Catherine McCallion, volunteer at Larne Community Care Centre and project manager, Barbara Ann Gilcrist. INLT 40-003-PSB

Thomas Hamilton from the Music Yard provided the entertainment at the launch of the Link Project and is pictured with Catherine McCallion, volunteer at Larne Community Care Centre and project manager, Barbara Ann Gilcrist. INLT 40-003-PSB

Barbara Ann Gilchrist, who is the co-ordinator for the project, explained: “The Big Lottery will provide funding for our new Link Project to deliver a three-year programme of social activities, social intervention support visits and easy access to important age-related services to support older people in Larne and surrounding areas.

“Our new Link Project will offer encouragement and practical support to aid our older people stay active and independent in the community longer, will offer respite from their isolation and loneliness, and deliver better connection to age-related help and support.”

A further element, added Barbara - who is also co-ordinator of Good Morning Larne which offers a telephone befriending service for older people - is the provision of volunteering opportunities to positively enhance the community.

“We like to call this Friends Together. A friend is one of the nicest things to have - and the best thing to be. Friends are medicine for the heart and vitamins for the soul and the best time to make friends is before you need them.

Enjoying the afternoon tea at the launch of the Link Project in Larne Town Hall are Emma Ferguson, Liz McAdorey and Helen Hamilton. INLT 40-005-PSB

Enjoying the afternoon tea at the launch of the Link Project in Larne Town Hall are Emma Ferguson, Liz McAdorey and Helen Hamilton. INLT 40-005-PSB

“This is why we want to make friends with as many local older people as possible, so if the time came that you may need a morning telephone call, or a hospital visit, we are already friends and can easily step in to provide more support.”

Guests also heard of a Police and Community Safety Partnership initiative.

“We want to tell everyone all about a new service they have, which is a Text Alert service. So the police, along with the Police and Community Safety Partnership, want to communicate better with the people in Mid and East Antrim. Together they developed the idea of a Text Alert system which allows them to get in touch directly with you, by texting you.

“This means, that if there was a community safety message or an issue in your area, they can instantly let you know about it by sending a text message to your phone. Examples of text alerts could be dangerous road conditions, suspicious vehicles in the area. Any local crime issues.”

Attending the launch of the Link Project in Larne Town Hall are (L to R ) Edna Walmsley, Jenny Dougan, PJ Whyte and Marina Dempsey. INLT 40-004-PSB

Attending the launch of the Link Project in Larne Town Hall are (L to R ) Edna Walmsley, Jenny Dougan, PJ Whyte and Marina Dempsey. INLT 40-004-PSB

PCSP representatives were in attendance to answer any questions and register people for the service. Thomas Hamilton from The Music Yard provided the entertainment.

For more details about the Link Project, telephone 028 28273362 or email larneccc@gmail.com

Alison Craig and Geraldine Smyth attended the launch of the Link Project in Larne Town Hall. INLT 40-002-PSB

Alison Craig and Geraldine Smyth attended the launch of the Link Project in Larne Town Hall. INLT 40-002-PSB