Author: Julie White

Back to School Timetable

Exercise option available for the month of September

Walking group, Boxercise, spinning, circuits, Body tone, Yoga. Booking required. £3 per class or £15 for the month.


Better Days ahead

Pain support programme returns

The Old Library Trust in partnership with the Healthy Living Centre Alliance once again will role out the award winning ever popular Better days pain management programme to residents living in Creggan and the surrounding areas.

This programme supports people to self manage their pain and live better and happier lives. Topic covered include Sleep, self care, relaxation, breathing techniques and advice from health professionals.

If interested contact Pete for information on how to join up

Men’s Health is back

Our Men’s health programme is back! Still places available!

Are you male aged 18+ and would like to make the first steps towards getting into a better health and wellbeing lifestyle?

Come along to the Old Library Trusts Men’s health initiative supported by the Neighbourhood Health improvement project and take part in activity tailored to suit your needs. Activities include health checks, weigh ins, circuit training, spinning, dander ball, football, golfing and much more.

Contact Jonathan or Pete for more information

Summer Fun Feile 2022

Bus Run, Bingo & Dance!

Over 200 local residents took part in one or more of a trio of social events organised by the team at the Old Library Trust over the month of August as part of the Gasyard Wall Feile celebrations.

A trip down memory lane to Buncrana for a walk at Swan Park and a ‘Pink and white’. A community bingo hosted by our own Micheal Doherty and an evening of food entertainment and dancing at the City Hotel to finish it all off.

Well done everyone and that you to everyone that made it all possible

Thank you Project SPARKS!

A shout out to our young people from Project SPARKS who took the time out to help with a clean up of the Healthy Living Centre. Over the summer months a lot of unwanted writing and images were appearing on the walls of the building and these young people in partnership with St. Marys Youth Club took time out to repaint the external walls of the building. They also appealed to all young people across the area to think before they write or draw.

Much appreciated!

Long term condition management group going from strength to strength

Do you live in Creggan or the surrounding areas? Do you have a long term condition? Would you like support?

This is the group for you! Daily sessions of exercise, mindfulness, health eating and social activities all helping to improve your quality of life. Have a look at some of our group members smiley faces!

If interested contact Jonathan at the Old Library Trust for information on how to join up

Funding success for the DEEDS Project

The Old Library Trust DEEDS Project that supports people living with Dementia and their families to live better for longer within their own communities will benefit from the recent funding announcement and award of Nearly £500,000 to continue to provide vital programmes and services to residents living across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area up until September 2025

The National Lottery Community fund announced over £5.8 million to 134 projects across Northern Ireland of which the Creggan Charity is one. Project Director George McGowan was delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund and all those that play the National Lottery have been able to continue to support such an important service.

He commented, “The last three years has been really difficult for everyone. However the impact on our older generation and particularly those living with dementia and their families has been extremely challenging. We are delighted that we are able to continue to provide vital support across the city and district to ensure that individuals and families do not feel that they are on their own”

If you or anyone you are close too is would like advice, support or guidance with their Dementia journey then please get in touch with a member of the DEEDS team at the Old Library Trust.

OLT launches ‘Strategic Plan 2022-2025’ at AGM

We will build a healthier, resilient and better-connected community’ – George McGowan

The capacity attendance at the AGM of the Old Library Trust in the Creggan centre last Tuesday were informed by Project Director George McGowan that ‘the new strategic plan will guide our work for the next three years and set out our ambitious goals to ensure we continue to deliver excellent programmes and services for you, the local people, and those communities we work with.’

Presenting the annual report, Mr. McGowan said: ‘Coming out of the recent pandemic, we intend to go from strength to strength at OLT. This is a time of challenge and change for us all. As you’ve heard from our facilitators today, we have continued to main a high quality of standard in all our programmes and services. We’ve added new projects tailored to meet the needs of local people, saw increasing numbers of local people engaging in our centre, whilst also welcoming new tenants, growing the internal team and giving the building a facelift to help contribute to the aesthetics and impression of the Creggan area.’

The Old Library Trust (OLT), based in the Creggan area of the city, was established in July 2001 to deliver programmes and services that improve the social, physical and mental health and wellbeing of residents living in the Creggan area.

Today, around 2300+ people come through the doors of the OLT Healthy Living Centre at Central Drive each week.

Chairperson Charlie O’Donnell welcomed members, users and public attendees, before giving an overview of the year’s activities at Old Library Trust. He also thanked the board for their continued commitment throughout what was another ‘successful year’ under difficult pandemic conditions.

After the minutes were presented and approved, the board of directors for the 2022-23 year were formally appointed. This was followed by the annual accounts’ adoption and then the project director’s annual report.

Mr. McGowan emphasised that the organisation will continue to listen to the needs of the community in delivering overall health and mental wellbeing for all and stressed this was highlighted in the release of the ‘Strategic plan’ for the next three years.

He went on to praise his staff and volunteers at the Trust and mentioned their willingness to attend new courses offered in upskilling for the benefit of the local community.

“All our staff and indeed volunteers continue to step forward, go the extra mile and learn new skills that help advance all we are trying to achieve here at OLT.

“A big thank you also to our many funders who continue to show confidence in Creggan by their unceasing support and funding.”

One of the highlights of Thursday’s AGM was testimonies from some of the service users with Liam O’Driscoll stating: ‘We couldn’t do without the Old Library Trust in Creggan. The staff do great work, run fantastic programmes that suit the local community and is very important to the Creggan.’

Another, Rachel O’Doherty praised the OLT ‘Older People and DEEDS’ programme for ‘bringing her granny out of herself’. She explained how her grandmother had developed a new self-dependency through taking part in the programme, and has blossomed over the period.

Other service users also praised the centre and what is offered to the community, mentioning some of the programmes that had ‘changed their lives’ These included the DEEDS project; First Family Hub; Healthy Lifestyles; Long Term Condition Management and the take up of the clinics within the centre.

Mr. McGowan concluded: ‘Our Strategic Plan shows how we will build a healthier resilient and better-connected community. It demonstrates how we will encourage and enable supported self-management and it sets out how we will support local families, individuals, organisations and also shows that we at OLT are committed to fighting for every one of you, to act as your voice and to help this community, city and district prosper.

‘Thank you to everyone for your continued support and let’s move forward together over the next three years.’

OLD LIBRARY TRUST AGM. . . .Group pictured at Tuesday’s Annual General Meeting of the Old Library Trust, Creggan, Derry. The Trust also launched their Strategic Plan for 2022-2025 at the event. Front from left Anna Claire Murray, Charlie O’Donnell, chair and Martina Mulhern. Back from left, Seamy Doherty, George McGowan, managing director, OLT, Sabrina Lynch and Karol McCauley. (Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography)

Health Fayres in Creggan Schools Hailed Success

The Old Library Trust, as part of the Community in Transition Project in partnership with The Bogside & Brandywell Health forum as part of Mental Health Awareness month deliver extensive Health Fayres in two Creggan schools – St. Cecilia’s College and St. Joseph’s Boys School.

The project included trained staff from both the Old library Trust and The Bogside & Brandywell health forum visiting the schools to carry out health checks on not only students, but teaching and ancillary staff as well as informing the whole school community about the range of health and wellbeing support services that are available across the local community, city, and district.

The project is part of a health and wellbeing initiative led by the Old Library Trust’s Healthy Living Centre in Creggan, partnered, and supported by the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum and funded by the Executive Office’s ‘Communities in Transition’ project.

Communities in Transition is part of the Executive’s Action plan to support communities to become more resilient by addressing key issues associated with poor physical and mental health. The health Faye’s offered children, young people, and adults a unique insight into their own health whilst advising all those in attendance how they can make real positive steps with their own health and wellbeing challenges.

Project Coordinator Julie White at the Old Library Trust commented,

“May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we wanted to show support for our school community – to give our teachers, children, and young people the opportunity to reflect on their own health and mental wellbeing and to provide opportunity to establish connections to their local community. The Education sector and our children have had a lot to deal with over the last few years and this event proved invaluable, raising awareness and signposting people to a wide range of helpful services.”

George McGowan, Project Director at the Old Library Trust shared his views on the importance of such projects. He said,

“I would like to thank our funders at the Executive office, our partners at Bogside and Brandywell health forum as well as our local schools, the team at the Old Library Trust and anyone who played any part in both events. Everyone’s health and wellbeing has been negatively impacted over the last two years due to COVID and all the stresses that that has brought. The school community has not escaped this. These types of events go a long way to help people move forward in a more positive way to improving their health and general wellbeing.”

SCHOOLS HEALTH FAIR. . . . .Mrs. Mary Jo O’Carolan, Vice Principal, St. Cecilia’s College pictured at the start of Schools Health Fair at the school on Wednesday morning with, from left, Ciara McElhinney and Aisling Hutton, Bogside Brandywell Health Forum and Julie White and Conor Bradley, Old Library Trust. (Photos: JIm McCafferty Photography)

THANK YOU! – Two Small Words That Mean So Much!

The Old Library Trust celebrates the amazing commitment and energy of all its volunteers

Every year the Old Library Trust takes time out to celebrate their amazing volunteers during Volunteer Week and this year is no different.  Volunteer week presents an opportunity for the organisation to recognise the time, energy, commitment & dedication of a vast number of local people who give to help those most vulnerable across the city and district, in particular, those living with Dementia registered in the organisations National Lottery Community Funds DEEDS project (Dementia Engaged & Empowered in Derry & Strabane)

Project Director at the Old Library Trust George McGowan stressed,

“We couldn’t do what we do at the Old Library Trust without the support of our amazing team of volunteers. Volunteering is a very giving role, and each year we acknowledge our volunteers’ efforts by giving something back to them. This year it is a social event celebration with gifts, certificates, and plenty of appreciation. On behalf of myself, the Board of Directors, Staff, and local people I would like to say thank you for choosing to be a volunteer with the Old Library Trust.”

Sinead Devine Older Adults and DEEDS Coordinator at the Old library Trust pointed out the impact volunteering has had for those experiencing dementia in their lives. Sinead said,

“We celebrate you at this time, our Volunteers, and your gift of time to us. You help us make our members with Dementia feel at home in their social groups. You are our eyes and ears in the rooms supporting our members to get the best out of each session. Your caring, compassion, empathy, and patience have all been key to the success of the DEEDS project and its positive impact on individuals, carers, and families” At the Volunteer celebration event the Old Library Trust was also joined by a selection of partner organisations; Chris McDaid from Strabane & District Caring Services, Michelle McAdams, and Stella McCauley from Shantallow Community Centre whilst the theme of the event was titled ‘Volunteering and Health and Wellbeing’- Often volunteers are so busy in their roles that they can forget to look after themselves. Jennifer McClements from Bliss Aromatherapy then led the volunteers through a beautifully smelling workshop on how essential oils can aid wellbeing, followed by reflection, conversation and Laughs to finish a real positive afternoon.  

VOLUNTEERS CELEBRATION AT OLT. . . . .Celebrating Volunteers from DEEDS at Old Library Trust, Creggan on Wednesday afternoon. The group received certificates and were treated to an aromatherapy session in thank you for all the sterling work over the past few years. (Photos: JIm McCafferty Photography)