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Ballymena gets in frame with new dementia project

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

BALLYMENA will be in the frame over the summer months as a new group of friends get out and about together as part of an exciting new walking and photography group.

Doury Road Youth Group and Alzheimer’s Society are just two of the 30 groups which have been partnered in the ‘Peacing Ages Together’ PEACE IV project.

The project has been supported through the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

This intergenerational partnership is the first to meet out of 15 cross-community partnerships created by MEAAP, and they plan to visit local beauty spots over the summer, for walks and photography sessions.

These will then form an arts project they will take part in together in September.

Twelve older people who live with dementia will meet up with 12 young people and spend 10 sessions together having fun and making new friends over the next few months.

MEAAP Peace IV Project Officer Sarah McLaughlin said: “This is an amazing opportunity for young people to build their awareness of dementia and take part in fun activities with older people who have so many experiences to share.

“The ‘Peacing Ages Together’ project is all about tackling loneliness and building friendships between people who may not normally get the chance to meet in everyday life.

“We have 14 more partnerships just like this one who are meeting for the first time and getting to enjoy new adventures together through 2018/2019.

“We are supporting each partnership to participate in 10 fun activity sessions ranging from circus skills workshops to cooking food from around the world. This partnership was full of ideas for their sessions and it is very exciting to watch how their relationships will develop over the 10 sessions.

“We fund all aspects of the project from facilitators to days out and this partnership will be heading up to visit the new Tropical Ravine at Botanical Gardens next month to take more photographs.”

Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Cheryl Johnston, said: “It’s great to hear from yet another of the exciting Peace IV Projects.

“Congratulations to all involved and to the Mid and East Antrim Peace IV Partnership, who have brought together delivery partners from across the borough to make a real difference in our local communities.”

Valerie Guthrie, Dementia Support Worker, Alzheimer’s Society, said: “For people with dementia this is a fantastic chance to reach out to the younger generation and show them how you can live well with dementia.

“Yes, it’s a hidden illness that people don’t really understand but having the opportunity to meet with our group will help the younger people to expand their understanding about dementia and get rid of any fear or stigma they may have around Dementia”

Kerry Lynn, from Doury Road Youth Group, said: “Our young people are so excited about this partnership.

“They have worked with older people before and learned so much. Now they have had their dementia-friendly training with Valerie and Lisa, and they are so eager to get out and have some fun together”

Match-funding for this element of the PEACE IV Programme has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland. For more information on ‘Peacing Ages Together’ call 02825658604 or email Sarah.McLaughlin@meaap.co.uk

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