Older Inishowen people encouraged to get writing

Project will run writing workshops for older people online

Denise Blake

Donegal poet Denise Blake who is facilitating Donegal Libraries' older people's writing project

A writing project aimed at older people in Buncrana and wider Inishowen has received government funding.

The project run by Buncrana Library is receiving aid from a funding package totalling €18,913, which is being channelled through the libraries in Donegal.

Explaining the proposed project, Rita Chapman of Donegal Library Services said it stemmed from her interest in age-friendly libraries and older people and how to improve services for them.

Rita said: “I was thinking about my own mother who is 90 years of age who was cocooning and it got me thinking about how some older people might feel isolated.

“When we were putting together the projects and proposals, everything was looking fantastic and we thought we would be able to find a socially distanced space, which would enable us to get six to ten participants to take part in a writing workshop inside at that time. But, obviously, that has all changed now and we are trying to move it online.

 “We do hope to do the last two weeks in October. We are very lucky to have poet Denise Blake, who is well known for her creative writing, facilitating for us online. Denise has experience doing workshops online, so we are looking forward to that.

 “The idea is there will be two weeks, two morning sessions of a hour each, probably in the last two weeks in October. We then plan to publish a little booklet, with support numbers and information for older people on it as well and get it published before the end of the year,” said Rita.

The project is open to older people throughout Inishowen.

Rita added: “We are not being prescriptive about what people will write. We are just looking forward to getting the whole thing off the ground.

 “We are disappointed that we could not have it in an actual library, albeit socially distanced because it would have been the perfect opportunity to get older people to a venue together, in a safe place, and we could also have promoted our library service.

“We do have an online service for library users but this is where we are at the moment, online. However, when we are allowed to, we hope to get the older people involved together, safely, to have a little celebration,” said Rita.

 Welcoming the funding, Donegal Cathaoirleach Rena Donaghey said the money will be provided from the 2020 Dormant Accounts Action Plan and from Libraries funding, which is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Cllr Donaghey added: “I am delighted that one of the projects is aimed at older people in Buncrana and surrounding areas. It will encourage older people to engage with the Library Service in a safe location and offer them a space in which to share their COVID-19 experiences.”

To participate in the older people's library project, contact: Rita Chapman by telephone: 087 127 4955 or email: rchapman@donegalcoco.ie.

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