The Elevate funded project was a 10-week programme of physical activity for older men in the local area. A trained facilitator delivered this programme which helped us with our balance and encouraged us to be active. We achieved our aim and as the programme was so successful we have been able to run another block of 10 sessions.
As in all areas we had people who were struggling to cope post pandemic and were having difficulty in integrating back into the community after lockdown and the isolation they experienced. Our project involved encouraging older men to become involved in their local community again through the All Saint’s Men’s Group. Our aim was for inclusion of elderly from all walks of life, socio-economic backgrounds and ethnic groups getting together for exercise and a cup of tea and a chat.
The Elevate project has given us an opportunity to hone in on who we are and what we do. It has given us better structure as an organisation and a real focus on how our work with older men can help reduce health inequalities. Two of our members attend the Scullery O’Tullagh Allotment Group and one of them has since set up his own Tunnel/ hot house with the help of the Brookville group, the rest of us supplied him with home grown plants for growing on — Tomatoes etc. We also now have a higher profile in the community and this will be developed even further with the introduction of our new branding package.
Through our mentoring we have been connected to the Mid & East Antrim Inter Ethnic Forum to widen our reach in the community. From this connection we had new members from different ethnic backgrounds attend. We can build upon this relationship in the future to help us identify how we can further support those from other backgrounds/nationalities who are part of our community. Our mentor has also connected us to 'Singing for Health' which we hope to add to our repertoire.
By taking part in the Elevate training, as a group we feel more confident in the work we do to address Health Inequalities. It has increased our knowledge and how we can incorporate this into or weekly sessions. It has also helped us create a bigger network of support that we can ask for help from Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership.
We believe that our activities help older men improve both their physical health and mental wellbeing. Therefore we feel that not only does our project benefit those individuals directly but it also has the potential to benefit their families and friends as well. We hope to continue to break down the barriers of isolation and loneliness for the older men living in our community.
“Being part of the Elevate Programme has given us and a real focus on how our work with older men can help reduce health inequalities.”
Frank McGreevey Co-ordinator