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28 Jan 2022

Longford Leader gallery: Rath Mhuire & Dolmen face Covid challenges and engaged in a range of 2021 projects

As we come to the close of 2021, another challenging year, Rath Mhuire & Dolmen Community Resource Services are proud to have continued their supports and services for older people in the North Longford region, during this difficult time.

Rath Mhuire & Dolmen CRS, their 100 participants, volunteers, staff and all who have supported them, have faced the challenges that Covid and its restrictions have presented, and have engaged in a range of projects and activities over the last 12 months.

Manager, Jacqueline Kennedy, said, “2020 and 2021 have been extremely busy, despite the restrictions and obstacles that Covid has presented, mainly because our participants, volunteers, staff and Board of Management have all worked harder than ever to ensure that we could support and engage with our local community in a safe and supportive way. We are also very grateful to HSE Longford County Council, LCDC, Community Foundation of Ireland, National Lottery for their funding support as well as the support from our local community.”

Last January, as a strict lockdown was once more in place, Rath Mhuire & Dolmen CRS stayed connected with their participants and their community, most notably with their Friendly Call Service to all 100 participants on a regular basis.

As Spring & Summer came around and the vaccination programme got underway, they were able to move outside and use the outdoors spaces.

One of the highlights of the summer, and thanks to the support of Longford Sports Partnership, was a fantastic six week Walking Activator Programme in Lebeen Park in Aughnacliffe, in which all groups participated, namely, Dolmen Failte Active Age Group, Dolmen Daycare Group, Moatsiders Active Age Group, Rath Mhuire Men’s Shed and the North Longford Men’s Shed.

Pamela Martin, Community Development Worker said, “This was such an enjoyable event, especially in the aftermath of lockdown, where people could get out and be active, meet one another again and have great fun. Even the weather was agreeable, particularly so on our last day, as we all enjoyed a wonderful picnic in the sunshine, overlooking the lake in the park. Rath Mhuire Men’s Shed, based in Rath Mhuire Centre, continued working on their various projects, including liaising with Granard Tidy Towns to make their town look as good as possible.

“Last year the group made beautiful planters for the town, and this year continued the good work by crafting the most unique wooden bench for the small community garden area which is located on the entrance to the town. They also participated in the ‘mywaste’ upcycling project creating fabulous garden furniture from old school lockers. This was a fantastic success as they were selected finalists in the competition, in which there were approximately 260 entries.”

As the year progressed both the Dolmen Centre & Rath Mhuire Centre groups were eventually able to move indoors again, albeit in a more restricted manner, adhering to all the proper safety protocols.

The provision of activities, information,’Drop-In Services’ transport, good food, and of course good company were some of the supports in place which made for very happy participants who were absolutely delighted to be back meeting their friends and neighbours again on a regular basis.

The organisation is also delighted with one of the final projects of 2021, this is an intergenerational Community Time Machine Project with Neighbourhood Network, a community building organisation that supports communities to connect and work together.

This project was created to connect different generations of people living in a community to encourage them to learn from each other’s experience. It is a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn more about the history of where they live, build up an archive of stories from the past and create their own artistic response.

As New Year approaches, unfortunately the deterioration in the Covid situation cast a shadow over Christmas gatherings and celebrations. However, the staff at Rath Mhuire & Dolmen are undeterred and determined to connect in some way with all their participants and the local community to wish everyone best wishes for 2022.

Jackie said, “we are already looking forward to 2022 and regardless of what happens, we will be aiming to make it a ‘Happy New Year’ for all involved in Rath Mhuire and Dolmen Community Resource Services.”

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