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Young and old take part in befriending project

YOUNG people from Strabane Access Youth Engagement (AYE) project have initiated a heart-warming new befriending project with the residents of Greenfield Home.

Prior to Christmas a group of teens attended the home and with social distancing in mind, handed over some gifts to the elderly residents. Subsequently, with the gifts being so well received, the young people have decided to keep the befriending scheme going into the new year.

Project co-ordinator at Strabane AYE,  Roisin McGinley explained, “We got funding from Youth Action in Derry to carry out the project. We had intended on just  going to visit the older people at Christmas. It was a befriending project just for Christmas but now  we’re hoping to keep it going for a few months, where the young people will write letters to the residents.

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“The kids  loved it. They thought it was great seeing the older people and handing over the gifts. It was actually their idea to keep it going. A few said it would be good to stay in contact. They know some of the older people have no-one else to visit them.”

Toiletries, sweets and cards were bestowed on the residents during the visit, as well as the obligatory Christmas socks.

“There were three or four residents who were able to come outside,” Roisin continued. “They loved it too and we got great feedback afterwards. The staff said they loved it.

“It was a project that we came up with to combat isolation.  It started off that we would work with young people in the community who aren’t seeing people but instead we thought it would work better with older people.

“A lot of people in the home maybe wouldn’t have a lot of visitors and I think they liked it. I know the young people got  a lot out of it.”

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 4 Castle Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AB