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, 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 of 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. We have a dedicated and loyal volunteer force of approx 70. 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.)
Various members of the public contact us for information on various issues. We liaise also with other organisations, the Gardai, Health Service Executive, Public Health Nurses and Social Workers. We will follow up on any queries a person might have.
Staying at Home:
Our organisation feels strongly that we would like our older people to stay 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 are in touch also with other agencies working to support older people and it is important that we stay in touch with each other.
Seniors Alert Scheme:
In addition to our befriending role we make applications and install Socially Monitored Alarms. Our organisation feels that this service is important for our older people living alone as they may feel afraid and isolated.
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.
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 that are long stay 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.
Keeping our Older People part of the Community:
Through our visits from our volunteers, our outings, retreat, morning club, lunch clubs, we find that these outings give them 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.