BIG staff members visit vibrant Connecting Older People project in Cookstown

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By Judith McCann, Funding Officer, Big Lottery Fund

The Oldtown Inn in Cookstown was packed to the rafters recently for the launch of O4O (Opportunities for Older People) Cookstown’s Connecting Older People project.

The project is designed to improve the social inclusion, mental and physical health and well-being and overall quality of life of older people over 60 in the Cookstown area.

O4O was awarded £198,155 from our Reaching Out: Connecting Older Poeple programme to expand its current services (for 185 members) so they can provide support for an extra 160 older people who are particularly vulnerable, have no involvement with local groups or have difficulties in accessing services.

Our NI Director, Joanne McDowell, Rachel Skinner from our Communications Team and myself were invited along to the launch event – and it proved to be a really interesting morning.

We were welcomed by the project manager, Gemma Glasgow, and O4O’s president, Margaret Gilbert, who was keen to show us some examples of the activities undertaken via this project, and funding from our Awards for All programme.

Amongst these were: an impressive array of fruit and vegetables from O4O’s allotment which are used in the meals for the luncheon club, card making, art work, lovely knitted goods and demonstrations of the computer skills that some of the over 60s had been learning.

And after the speeches to launch the project, we were treated to a feast of delicious homemade goodies and got the opportunity to talk to representatives from other organisations in attendance, as well as some of the older people.

A number of older people remarked on how beneficial the project has been for them to date and how pleased they were that O4O had received funding to expand the activities they can take part.

This was a great launch and a worthwhile project that will make a big difference to the lives of older people in the local community. Thanks for inviting us!

To find out more about the difference the funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Conecting Older People programme is making to the lives of isolated and vulnerable older people across Northern Ireland, visit our website at:

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