Charity urges over 65s to get out and socialise


Deafblind NI is inviting older people along to its monthly social/support group meetings in Glengormley.

The initiative, part of the charity’s Big Lottery-funded Connections NI project, is aimed at older people in the Newtownabbey area who feel socially isolated.

The group is open to anyone over 65 with a combined sight and hearing impairment. Generally, group members are either partially sighted or blind and hard of hearing or deaf.

The Newtownabbey Support Group meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month, between 2pm and 4pm at Eden coffee shop, Ballyclare Road. It offers regular social outings, activities, informative talks from guest speakers and a friendly environment to meet new people.

At present the group only has a few members, but Norman McCudden, Connections NI Project Manager, is hoping that word will spread and more people will get involved.

“Our aim is to grow the group to approximately 10 - 15 members and to move it into a more permanent home, perhaps in a local library,” he explained.

“In the group we meet one afternoon per month, drink tea/coffee, play games, chat, utilise some digital inclusion activities on an iPad etc.

“In addition, we organise three social outings per year and have a number of guest speakers in to provide our members with information on topics that are of interest to them.”

The Connections NI project also provides some fantastic volunteering opportunities by linking people with a volunteer ‘befriender’ at a group or on a more regular basis at times and days to suit the person and their volunteer. This could include a visit to a local café, leisure activities such as rambling or swimming, help with digital technology or just a cup of tea and a chat. Following an introduction, volunteers will regularly visit and enable people to once again do more of the things they enjoy.

For more information about the local Deafblind NI social group, or for details about volunteering, contact Norman on 07950 033648 or email