A new intergenerational centre of excellence described as the ‘future of older people’s services’ has been opened in Belfast following the refurbishment of a derelict building on the Falls Road. The project which was delivered by Springfield Charitable Association (SCA), includes a ‘Youth Club for Older People’ as well as access to advice services and support for people living with dementia.
Alongside creating a vital new resource for older people, the space is also intended to help revitalise life in the area claiming back an abandoned building and creating better connections for older people within the wider community.
The project was supported by a range of funders including The National Lottery Community Fund with a grant of over £350,000, the Department for Communities, the Wolfson Foundation and the Alpha Fund.
Terry McNeill from Springfield Charitable Association said: “The aim of the project is to improve the health and quality of life of older people by encouraging a more active lifestyle and healthy diet through a drop-in centre that also provides a safe place to socialise.
“This is a move away from reactive care to a more preventative approach to care provision. Also within the building we will house an advice centre service that will provide the perfect location to match our advisors’ excellent skills.
Terry added: “We have consulted with almost 1000 people in the area to find out what they want and need. This state of the art facility reflects that consultation and uses the latest design standards and best practice including support for those with dementia. We believe this centre represents the future of older people’s services in the city.”
Michael Hughes Space & Place Programme co-ordinator said: “This facility is a fantastic example of how much can be achieved when a group understands the needs of its local community, and brings together a range of funders to help it realise a vision for their area.
“The Space & Place Programme aims to help communities transform underused, neglected or difficult spaces and this project will certainly help enhance the quality of life of people of all ages but in particular the lives of older people in the community through the creation of this imaginative and vital new space.”
Julie Harrison, The National Lottery Community Fund NI Chair said: “We believe this wonderful new space, which has been made possible thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, will make a real difference to the lives of many local people by providing a space for them to come together and improve the area that they live in.”