More than 100 older people from sheltered housing schemes throughout Northern Ireland have gathered at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum in Cultra to celebrate the first year of a five year Big Lottery funded project designed to improve the quality of life, health and self esteem of isolated older people.
Participants, all tenants of Clanmil Housing, joined period characters at the museum for traditional fun and games at an Edwardian themed garden fete.
Research shows that loneliness is a major issue for many older people, with more than 66 million hours spent alone by people aged over 65 in Britain each day – equivalent to each person over 65 spending more than 100 days alone each year.
The “Treasure House” project, which Clanmil runs in partnership with National Museums Northern Ireland, gives over 1,000 older people living in the association’s sheltered housing schemes the chance to enjoy regular workshops at museum sites throughout Northern Ireland. Tenants take part in activities, including arts and crafts, local history, music and dance, that prompt memories, start conversations and help build friendships.
Colette Moore, Group Director of Housing at Clanmil said;
“This project encourages our older tenants to get out and enjoy social activities and make new friends. By taking part they have opportunities to reminisce about the past and also to enjoy new experiences.”
She continued: “Activities like this can have such a positive impact on older people’s quality of life by helping to keep body and mind active and bringing them together to enjoy each other’s company. Our tenants’ enthusiasm and excitement has been overwhelming and in the first year of the project more than 70% of those who’ve attended one project session have signed up for more.”
Paddy Gilmore, Director of Learning & Partnership, National Museums Northern Ireland, said; “It has been an exciting year for the Treasure House project and there is much to celebrate. The focus of Treasure House is to enrich the lives of older people and promote the benefits of lifelong learning. This has certainly been the case and National Museums’ have been delighted to partner with Clanmil Housing on this worth-while project. We look forward to continuing and developing this important initiative.”
Mrs Pat Charlton, who lives at Clanmil’s Cedar Court sheltered housing scheme in Whiteabbey has been taking part in project sessions for the past year. She says;
“I really look forward to the Treasure House days out. There’s always something different to see or do and I particularly enjoy the sessions that look back to how things were when I was younger.
“It’s lovely to be able to talk about days gone by, to share my memories and hear other people’s stories. It’s given us all something new to think about and we’re certainly never short of something to talk about now.”
For further media information please contact Christine Ashfield at Clanmil Housing on 028 9087 6000 or 075 951 18122.
Notes to editors:
- Clanmil Housing is one of Northern Ireland’s leading housing associations and currently owns and manages almost 4,000 homes throughout Northern Ireland including family homes, homes for single people, independent living schemes for older people, housing with care for frail older people and supported housing for older people with dementia. Clanmil aims to provide great homes that strengthen communities with service that matter.
- Clanmil was awarded £499,126 to run the Treasure House project in partnership with National Museums NI (NMNI) over 5 years from 2013 to 2018.