The aim of Galway Contact's befriending service is to offer friendship to older people who are feeling lonely and isolated through weekly 1:1 visits from our garda vetted volunteers.
During the pandemic our befriending volunteers continued to stay in touch with their older friend by eg. phone calls, writing letters, forming a support bubble where necessary. Thankfully, our volunteers can now visit their older friends in a safe manner visiting them on a weekly basis to have a chat and check their older friend is ok.
We always welcome new referrals from older people who would like a weekly visit.
Seniors Alert Scheme personal alarms
Galway Contact process grant applications on a daily basis to enable older people to receive a personal alarm. This alarm notifies their loved ones in the event of an accident or health scare in their home and these alarms give families and friends peace of mind that the person is safe and enables older people to stay living in their home for as long as possible. Galway Contact processes hundreds of new applications and replacement applications each year and provides follow-up support.
Friday Morning Club
We also hold our own Friday Morning Club every second Friday in Árus de Brún, Galway city from 11.00am - 1.00pm where our older friends enjoy a cuppa and chat followed by activities such as bingo and meditation. We provide transport to the club for those who need it and new members are always welcome.
Weekly Lunch & Social Clubs
Each week we bring some of our older friends in to Croí na Gaillimhe, Galway city on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1.00pm - 3.30pm for dinner followed by bingo, exercise and music, friendship, fun and much more. We provide transport to and from the club for those who have no other means of getting there.
Technology for Older People project
As part of our involvement in the Healthy Galway City Initiative we have been working on helping to bring technology to older people so they can stay in touch with families and feel less socially isolated and lonely. This involves helping older people use eg. smart tablets to access important information, communicate with family and participate in programmes of benefit to them. We would like to thank Galway City Partnership, Galway City Council, Galway City LCDC, Healthy Ireland Fund, Pobal, Government of Ireland and the Community Mental Health Fund, supported by the Dept of Health for their funding and support.
Since Q4 2021 we have partnered with Galway City Partnership to support two community groups for older people where they learn how to use technology, they socialise and take part in other wellbeing activities. Our support involves providing transport for those participants who have no other means of getting there
Other Activity 2021
In relation to COVID vaccinations for over 65s we contacted GP surgeries and primary care centres offering transport assistance and as a result we have provided transport for those who had no means of transport to get to and from their COVID vaccination appointments using our Galway Contact minibus.
On 3rd June we participated in the Galway City Partnership initiative by delivering 40 window boxes to older residents around the city. Our Chairperson and bus driver put in a long, but rewarding day and we hope the recipients got enjoyment from watching their flowers bloom over the Summer months (see Gallery for photos).
Over the years we have always held several annual events bringing our older people together to socialise and engage with their neighbours, friends and community. Events include a spiritual retreat and outings.
This year's annual Retreat took place on 12th May 2022 in Croí Nua Spirituality Retreat. Many of our older friends attended and found it very enjoyable and spiritually beneficial.