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Today we’ve announced over £3.2 million funding to support the most isolated and vulnerable older people in Northern Ireland.  

The grants were awarded through our Reaching Out: Connecting Older People programme which supports older people affected by issues such as bereavement, disability or long term illness or who live in residential care or sheltered housing.

Reminiscence Network Northern Ireland has been awarded £416,893 to carry out visits to the homes of vulnerable older people across the Northern Health and Social Care Trust to help them create an innovative ‘Life Story Book.’  

 They will also run ‘Creative Reminiscence Groups’ offering activities for older people at day centres run by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. The project will encourage older people living with disabilities to look back at their life experiences, helping them create a book of lasting memories, building their relationships, reducing their loneliness and boosting their self-esteem and self worth.

Anne Greenan, 75, from east Belfast, organises and participates in Reminiscence Network sessions. “I thoroughly enjoy it. It just brings back things I thought I had forgotten about,” she said. “At our last meeting everyone was talking about the old picture houses. Many of the people who come along have Alzheimer’s or early Alzheimer’s, but it is amazing how much they can remember. It’s a fantastic organisation and I don’t know what I would do without it.”

Kaleidoscope  was also awarded £180,000 to run arts groups across Northern Ireland for older people who are at risk of being socially isolated and excluded.

Each group will run a course of activities designed to steadily build the skills, confidence and self esteem of members and explore the issues affecting their lives. At the end of the project the group will perform a drama piece based on what they have learnt for their friends, families and people in the local community.  

To find out who else got funding visit: http://news.biglotteryfund.org.uk/pr_290312_ni_ro_cop_isolated_ni_older_people?regioncode=-ni

The Reaching Out: Connecting Older People programme is now closed for Outline Proposal applications. To find out more about the programme visit: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

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