Is a voluntary organisation founded in 1981. Our main aim is to help older people who may feel lonely and isolated, through weekly visits.
Is to hold out a hand of friendship, a friendly face and supportive voice for our older people in Galway. Every visit is completely unique and organised on a one-to-one basis. We are very aware of the need for confidentiality and sensitivity. Our visits are carried out in a very discreet and unintrusive way.
How is our befriending visit set up:
Our referrals come from eg. Public Health Nurses, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, UHG and Merlin Park Hospital, Neighbours, Family members, the person themselves, in the area of Galway City and Suburbs (we only visit when requested.)
Recruiting our volunteers:
Our volunteers are recruited through Local Papers and Media. Each volunteer is interviewed. (Under present regulations it will be necessary for Galway Contact to get Garda vetting on every volunteer before they start their visit). Volunteers are made aware of the need for confidentiality and commitment to their visit.
We cover all areas of Galway City and Suburbs. Volunteers visit older people who are living alone or in Nursing Homes. We also visit older people in Merlin Park Hospital Long Stay units. We have a dedicated and loyal volunteer force of approx 50. We are unique in so far as our volunteers visit on a one-to-one basis. We do not judge people, if someone is lonely and would like a visit from our organisation we will offer friendship and support. (Some may strongly value their privacy and may not wish to have a visit set up.)
Members of the public often contact us for information on various issues. We liaise with other organisations, the Gardai, Health Service Executive, Public Health Nurses and Social Workers on an ongoing basis so if we are unable to address people's queries we will direct them to the relevant organisation who can help them.
Staying at Home:
Our organisation feels strongly that older people should be supported in staying in their own homes for as long as possible with all the facilities provided to enable them to do so, if that is their wish. We keep in touch with other agencies working to support older people as it is important that we work together to support older people.
Seniors Alert Scheme:
In addition to our befriending role we process grant applications for the Seniors Alert Scheme personal alarms. Our organisation feels that this service is important for our older people as they may feel afraid and isolated and the alarm will alert the relevant people in the event of the older person having a health emergency.
We run a morning club every second Friday, where the older people attending are transported to and from the club on our bus or by our volunteers. They like to relax in a friendly atmosphere, with various activities, refreshments and most of all to chat with each other. We also transport people on our bus to several weekly Lunch Clubs in Croí na Gaillimhe and a weekly social club run by Galway City Partnership.
We hold various annual outings eg. a spiritual Retreat, Summer/Christmas outings. We invite older people who live at home, in Nursing Homes and those who are in long stay care in Merlin Park Hospital. The Galway Contact bus and our volunteers provide transport on the day. We are grateful also for the support from Ability West, the Garda Community section, Red Cross and various other people who are always willing to help out by providing music and entertainment.
Keeping our Older People part of the Community:
Through the social outings, retreat, morning club, lunch clubs, we find that these outings give older people such confidence, they soon realise that they can get out, enjoy themselves and feel part of the community.
In 2020 we replaced our old bus and purchased a new one which enables us to transport our elderly friends on a weekly basis to the various clubs and outings described above. This project has been funded by The Department of Rural and Community Development and the Irish Government, supported by Galway City LCDC under the Community Enhancement Programme.