Supported living provider will turn the hands of time with special event for the Ballymena community

Jane Witherspoon


Jane Witherspoon

Abbeyfield and Wesley’s Tea and Memories event at Tower Shopping Centre will showcase stills, film and the sights and sounds of a bygone era to reunite the older generation.

A Northern Ireland supported living accommodation provider is calling on those who grew up in the 40s, 50s and 60s here to delve back in time and relive the memories of a bygone era with a special event this month.

Tea and Memories, which takes place over the week beginning October 11 in a new pop-up shop at Tower Shopping Centre in Ballymena, will relive life in Northern Ireland during the latter decades, thanks to access to a film archive jam packed with over 1,500 evocative scenes from those eras.

The Pop-Up Shop programme is a Mid and East Antrim Borough Council initiative.

The shops will be running in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne town centres from September 2021 to August 2022.

The films will cover everything from news to advertisements spanning topics including holidays to transport, work, home life, sport, hobbies and much more.

The event, hosted by Abbeyfield and Wesley Housing Association which has over 20 accommodation settings here, will help spark treasured memories, allowing guests to enjoy memory-inducing conversations with their peers.

The Abbeyfield initiative has already been piloted at the living provider’s residencies across Northern Ireland, with much success, and now it wants to allow other members of the community to delve into the archives while enjoying a cuppa and good company.

Speaking about the event, Sally Campton, Community Engagement Manager from the Abbeyfield and Wesley charity, said: “We’re coming out of a period of almost two years of lockdowns and isolation for many older people in the community.

“This event was planned to encourage that generation to get out and socialise in a safe setting and enjoy reliving memories of life in Northern Ireland during their formative years.

“We’ve already piloted the event at our residences around NI with much success and as a result we’ve ignited new bonds and friendships.

“We have no doubt we can do the same in the wider community with the magic that is Tea and Memories.”

Ethel, a resident in the Abbeyfield Ballymena house, recently took part in a Tea and Memories session and said: “I loved it. It brought back so many memories and it was great to chat with others about the things we all remembered.

“We all enjoyed a good laugh with it.”

With two sessions daily - 10.30am and 2.00pm - the event is aimed at older members of the community who have been isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Booking is essential to guarantee your place and allow the event to adhere to current Covid safety measures.

To reserve your place at Tea and Memories, please email

Host Abbeyfield offers living environments with household chores taken care of to allow residents the time to enjoy life, with the benefit of having their own private and personally furnished room, home cooked meals eaten with fellow residents, call alarm systems and supportive staff at hand when needed, including during the night.

A calendar of events and social occasions as well as links with the community supports a dynamic living environment in which to make many more memories.

Among the events enjoyed by Abbeyfield and Wesley residents in recent weeks is the Tea and Memories initiative, with many residents sharing their experiences and reminiscing about tales of years gone by.

Aimed at both men and women, Tea and Memories is now going public at Tower Centre Ballymena where you’re guaranteed a warm welcome and the time to spark conversations, swap stories and connect with friends old and new.

There are two Abbeyfield societies in Northern Ireland, and both are charities. Abbeyfield Belfast Society operates seven supported sheltered houses in South and East Belfast.

Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association manages supported, sheltered houses in Ballycastle, Ballyclare, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Bangor, Carrickfergus, Donaghadee, Downpatrick, Greenisland, Holywood, Lurgan, Newtownabbey and Portstewart. In addition, the charity also runs Palmerston residential dementia care home in East Belfast and three sheltered schemes in Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey and Belfast.

For further information on Abbeyfield & Wesley please check out

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