Staying Connected
Sometimes, staying connected may feel challenging, but it is more important than ever. The benefits certainly outweigh the challenges – spending time with happy and positive friends can elevate your mood, while having stronger social ties has been linked with a lower risk of depression, healthier blood pressure and body mass index.

Human beings are inherently social creatures. As far back as we can trace, humans have travelled, hunted, and thrived in social groups for good reason. Being in contact with other people on a regular basis is necessary for many people to stay physically and mentally well.

Engaging in new social groups and meeting people can introduce you to new interests and ideas to ponder.

Mentally stimulating activities build up healthy brain cells, while learning about different ways of life helps develop a higher level of empathy and acceptance towards others.

In many of our scheme across the country, initiatives to support the building of connections are being successfully set up throughout the year. Many of these initiatives are driven by the wants and needs of the scheme residents. Here is just a taste of the initiatives that have taken place:

Killarney
Residents of Clann’s Killarney schemes hold a weekly coffee morning in their shared community room. Large numbers gather each week, with residents catching up with each other and discussing current and future events! The ‘Coffee Morning’ group go downtown for lunch together every 6 to 8 weeks and enjoy an afternoon together in a local establishment. The group is very active on the Killarney schemes and encourages others to take part in festivities along the way. Community spirit is alive and kicking in Clann’s Killarney schemes – Holy Cross Gardens, Coill na Darach and Oakwood!

Oriel Lodge
In December 2023, a tutor from Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board, Ida Smith, came to work with the residents living in Oriel Lodge. Ida provided training on Christmas flower arranging. All scheme residents were invited to take part. The course was held on Monday mornings over 3 weeks. Over the 3 weeks, residents made Christmas floral displays and Christmas wreaths. Some of the residents who took part used their new skills to decorate their homes, while others gave them as presents to family and friends. It was a fantastic opportunity for the residents of Oriel Lodge to come together while learning a new skill.

The Coach House
In February 2024, the Coach house residents started a six-week air fryer cooking class provided by Laois/Offaly Education and Training Board., The classes went down very well with the residents. These classes were provided by a qualified chef, Janice, who engaged with all the participants and displayed a range of dishes that can be cooked in the air fryer, such as lasagne, scones, bread, carbonara and loads of other tasty treats. Air fryer cooking has many benefits – it is a healthier alternative to deep frying, the air fryer can be set up on an appropriate workspace requiring no bending, it can be set to a timer, it does not take up much room, and can be more cost efficient than using an oven. These classes were beneficial to residents providing them with the skills to cook healthy meals in a cost-effective way.

Broome Lodge
The residents in Broome Lodge were cooking up a storm in collaboration with Dublin Northside Partnership. Dublin Northside Partnership facilitated a workshop on cooking and the benefits of healthy eating. The group got a lot out of the experience, beyond their new cooking repertoire. They were able to meet socially, build a connection with their neighbours and had a new way of keeping active.

It does not matter how we all stay connected What matters is that, when we do it, we do it doing something that we enjoy.

These are some notable examples of building opportunities for connection. If, after reading this piece, you have a story you would like to share in the next Soal, please chat to your scheme manager or email us at myvoice@clannhousing.ie. We are always interested in stories and finding out how your community stays connected.

 

 

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