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Bill Breslin’s journey at the Old Library Trust

Men’s health group keeping Bill on his toes

Name: Bill Breslin.

Age: 62

Why did you join the OLT programme?

Friends and family had recommended the programme to me as i had broken my hip in 2014 and after rehab needed to rebuild and maintain muscular strength and general fitness.

What do you enjoy about the programme?

I enjoy the social engagement with the men’s group, feeling fitter and healthier, making new friends and reconnecting with old neighbours.

How often do you participate in Physical exercise now?

Twice a week in the gym with this programme and walking three days a week.

Any Benefits since starting?

Many benefits including improvement in my overall wellness both physically and mentally, more energy, muscles rebuilt in my hips and legs and i have made many new friends along the way.

Overall a great programme for men of all ages and ability, getting fitter and stronger while having a laugh.

‘Eating on a budget’

Successful ‘Transform Your Trolley’ Programme at OLT

Some delicious dishes by local cook Patricia Lynch, advice on how to eat well on a budget and some fantastic fun was had by all taking part in the Old Library Trust’s ‘Transform Your Trolley’ programme over the past few weeks at the Creggan centre.

The event, part of the OLT’s ‘Transform your Trolley’ programme, saw the delivery of a nutrition programme over six weeks, supporting the luncheon group to improve their food shopping and eating habits by providing interactive cooking and nutritional sessions.

Held on Wednesday afternoons, the Old Library Trust, recruited the support of local cook, Patricia Lynch to deliver in person the cooking demos, which showcased step-by-step how to create simple, quick, and nutritious meals.

Additional to the wonderful dishes served up, the OLT’s Julie White, led a weekly discussion and some activities on nutrition with each session focussing on key areas such as creating a balanced shopping list, meal planning, how to eat well on a budget, how to cook basic nutritious meals, and making use of leftovers.

Delighted with how the programme went over the weeks and the openness of the participants to try out new recipes, Julie said: ‘It has been great to deliver our programme to our senior residents. They have been so engaging throughout, getting involved in discussions and activities. They have also been so open and willing to try new recipes and even tried their hand at home to recreate some of the recipes developed with Patricia. It was learning through fun and everyone enjoyed it!’

The programme which is funded by Safefood is part of a wider partnership with the Healthy Living Centre Alliance that will see Healthy Living Centres across Northern Ireland deliver a range of programmes, with the aim to support, encourage and promote making small positive changes to how we shop and eat food.

For more information on future programmes, contract or call 028 71373870.

Sabrina Lynch, OLT and Patricia Lynch, Cookery Facilitator pictured with some of the ladies who attended last week’s ‘Transform Your Trolley’ at the Old Library Trust.
Tasting the delicious food served up at the ‘Transform Your Trolley’ event at the OLT are Fidelis Kerr, Margaret Gorman and Ann Doherty. (Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography)

DEEDS begins visits to the Tower Museum

DEEDS began their visits yesterday to the Tower Museum as part of the Treasured Possessions: The People’s Artefacts project funded by the Arts Council for Northern Ireland (Arts and Older People Fund).

Members from Strabane, Mellow DEEDS and Men’s Exercise enjoyed their visit to the Tower Museum yesterday. The session was led by the fabulous Betty Doherty as she took them through artefacts that people had donated to the museum.

For many it was the first time they had visited the museum. As part of the visit several members got the chance to participate in a virtual reality experience of the old docks as a working dock, war ships from 1917 and the port as an emigration point.

“It really brought back a lot of memories seeing objects like the old whisk again.” said Barry

“Memories of my mum in the kitchen,” said Hester.

Hugh noted that it was “fantastic” and “really enjoyable”.

Next week the groups will discuss what precious objects they have in their own homes that they can bring in and use for reminiscence.

‘Fed and Watered’ at OLT Air Fryer Masterclass with Seana

A packed hall on Thursday night for the Old Library Trust’s two-hours Air Fryer Masterclass with the renowned Derry chef and Master Airfryer ‘Seana McAirfryer’ saw some tasty bites served up for all to try.

Thanks to funding from Safefood and their community food initiative Over 40 took up the free offer to come along and see ‘Seana McAirfryer’ at work on the implement she has mastered since Covid lockdown. There was a chance to ask questions, sample some savoury delicacies cooked on the Air fryer and have some fun.

The event showcased how to use an airfryer, how to create simple healthy meals at low cost and the intention was to give parents and families the opportunity to learn quick and easy recipes along with nutritional support from Seana and the event was funded by safefood as part of their Community Food Initiative project.

Served up under the Healthy Living Centre at the OLT, event organiser Julie White said she was delighted with the uptake from both male and females and also the broad age group who attended.

‘It was great to see a packed house for the event. Seana is so relaxed and makes everyone feel comfortable. That makes for a relaxed but fun environment, enjoyed by all those who attended.

‘We even managed to raffle two airfryers to the audience and had two very happy ladies in Eleanor McDermott and Gloria Morrison.’

Feedback after the event was extremely positive to the Old Library Trust and Julie added that it was encouraging to see so many people wanting to learn more how they can get the most from their house appliances and eat well.

One of the participants described the enjoyment on Thursday night, stating: ‘It was an excellent night. I enjoyed every minute, from the food, to the company and listening to Seana, it’s been great!’

Following on from this event, the Old Library Trust will be running a parents nutrition programme launching Friday, 11th November at 12:30pm.

For more information contract at or call 028 71373870.

‘A Helluva Party’ as DEEDS celebrates Halloween in style!

A helluva party!’ was how this week’s DEEDS Hallowe’en Tea Party was described as the group brought together the members from all the social and activity groups in the city to enjoy music, dancing and the craic in Bishop’s Field Sports Centre.

One of the city’s foremost entertainers, the fabulous Mickey Doherty sang, danced and entertained the attendance ensuring all there had their moment in the spotlight. The event also saw the city and district’s Deputy Mayor Angela Dobbins join in the fun.

Those in attendance were also treated to high tea that included sandwiches, pastry, and other delicacies to tease the tastebuds.

Delighted with how the day went, DEEDS co-ordinator Sinead Devine praised Micky Doherty for his sterling work in getting everyone on the floor and dancing, joining in the fun and going away with a memorable experience.

‘I am really thrilled with the tea party today. Everyone has had a smile on their face from beginning to end. Our entertainment from Micky was superb. He has a great gift in being able to connect to everyone both on a group level as well as individually. The members have had so much fun today and we have seen so many up on the dance floor and really enjoying a boogie.’

The new Training and Support Officer, Leeann Harris added: ‘Making the tea party happen was a great team effort and testament to the hard work and dedication of all our staff. When you see the members enjoying themselves like this, it really is worth all the effort.’

Drawing attention to a special moment celebrated during Wednesday’s Tea Party, Wendy McLaughlin, DEEDS Support Worker said: ‘We had some special moments today as well with birthday girl Stella being serenaded by Mickey and then husband and wife, Bobby and Pat celebrating 64 years together and dancing to Mickey’s rendition of the old classic “Bobby’s Girl”. The event has just made their day.’

The new addition to the DEEDS team, Kathleen McNaught said her first big DEEDS event was a pleasure to have been involved in and would have brought a tear to your eyes seeing how much people had enjoyed it.

The members had their say on the day’s proceedings with John from Shantallow saying ‘It was a very good event, more than good – it was excellent. You couldn’t get better people.’ While Ann from Strabane described it as ‘Brilliant! loved it, loved every minute of it!’. The man from Caw, Gerard described the event as “super” and added “that guy Micky is a quare singer”. The OLT’s own Carmel was also delighted with the day describing it as ‘Brilliant, immensely enjoyable. What a great day we all had.’

DEEDS has been successful in their second round of funding from the Lottery’s Community Fund which will hopefully make events like this possible, adding to helping create Derry and Strabane as a dementia-friendly region.

Anyone looking for further information on DEEDS and the events held throughout the year, don’t hesitate to contact Sinead on 028 71 373870.    

Halloween Bingo in Creggan

The Old Library Trust & Creggan Neighbourhood Partnership came together to organise a community wide Halloween bingo for local residents. The bingo callers on the night Jean and Micheal Doherty kept the crowd entertained and amused with a great nights craic.

Thank you to everyone that came along and well done to all the winners!

Eyes down for a full house at the Old Library Trust and Community Neighbourhood Partnership Community Bingo at the Bishop’s Field Centre on Wednesday night last. From left, Molly Liddy, Nicola Liddy, Michelle Griffin and Breidge Coyle. (Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography)
Denise Tracey, Christine Moran, Mary Moore and Norah Burke enjoying Wednesday night’s bingo at Bishop’s Field, Creggan.
Creggan bingo enthusiasts pictured at the OLT/CNP Community Bingo at Bishop’s Field on Wednesday night. From left, Sharon Seal, Ann Devlin, Bridie Boyle, Marguerite McDaid, Debbie Quigley and Sharon Boast.
Pamela Bradley and Aisling Whoriskey enjoying Wednesday’s Bingo in Creggan.
Eyes down from Sharon Allen and Jodi Allen on Wednesday at Creggan Bingo.
Bingo Time for Margo Doherty, May Cunningham, Teresa McKeever, Ann Duddy, Maureen McCauley and Elizabeth Harper.
Old Library Trust staffers pictured at Wedneday’s Community Bingo.

Mayor visits OLT to help Celebrate World Alzheimer’s Day

DCSDC Mayor Sandra Duffy visited the Old Library Trust to talk to our DEEDS members about their activities they were taking part in on the day

“Lovely to get up to the Old Library Trust in Creggan for Alzheimer’s Day and see some of the fantastic Fidget Blankets made by carers for their loved ones to celebrate the day. Such a thoughtful activity give to those who are experiencing dementia in their lives”

The Old Library Trust DEEDS project held a series of activities , programmes and events to celebrate the day and can be seen on the DEEDS social media channels.

Transform Your Trolley – The partnership continues to strengthen

We’re delighted to be teaming up with the Healthy Living Centre Alliance & Safefood once more to encourage families to shop for healthy food, make healthier food choices AND save money while reducing food waste.

The Old Library Trust will take the lead in coordinating & delivering the Community based programmes across the North in partnership with 20 Healthy living centres working under the Healthy Living Centre Alliance.

See our guide: & Keep an eye out on social media for up and coming programmes

OLT Supporting Positive Ageing Month

The old Library Trust was delighted to work in partnership to support this years positive ageing month with a wide range of local activities to support our older residents.

Activities and initiatives for older people will take centre stage across the Council area next month as Positive Ageing Month returns.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust and Derry City and Strabane District Council worked with the Public Health Agency and Community and Voluntary organisations to develop and promote the programme.

The events began on Saturday October 1st to mark International Day of Older Persons and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy, officially launched the programme.

“I am delighted to introduce the programme for Positive Ageing Month 2022 – a month long festival to support older people,” she said.

“This year’s programme offers a wealth of opportunities for citizens aged 50+ years to be included in all aspects of community life across the District. 

“Locally the Age Friendly Programme aims to engrain the inclusion of older people by increasing participation and access to services and making sure this is an enjoyable place for people to live and grow older in.

“The wide range of opportunities are reflective of the partnership working by all stakeholders including the community and voluntary sector who continuously reach out to support our older citizens.

“I would like to thank everyone for their contributions and the Western Health and Social Care Trust and the Public Health Agency for their ongoing support.

“I would encourage everyone to use Positive Ageing Month as an opportunity to try something new, get along to as many of the events as possible and encourage others to join you.”

Some highlights of the programme include walks, talks, music sessions, photography competition, talks on pensions planning and making your home more energy efficient, as well as healthy eating and a step challenge all happening throughout the month.

Brónach McMonagle, Involvement Manager, Western Health and Social Care Trust added: “The Western Trust is delighted once again to support the Positive Ageing campaign.

“There is a wide range of events and activities for all our older people and we are pleased to see the promotion of the 5 steps to wellbeing – Be active, Connect, take notice, give and keep learning.

“We would like to thank our partners as this initiative shows what we can achieve when we work together.

“We encourage everyone to take a look at this year’s brochure and get involved as much as you can”.

Heather Hamilton, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer at the Public Health Agency (PHA) West said:

“Empowering older people to live healthier and fulfilling lives is crucial to maintaining and improving their wellbeing. It can help reduce isolation, become more active and forge important connections beneficial to mental health.  Positive Ageing Month is a welcomed opportunity to celebrate older people and for them to connect and become involved in events and activities which promote improvement in both physical and mental health and help reduce health inequalities. The PHA is delighted to work in partnership with Council and the Western Health and Social Care Trust to help recognise the invaluable contribution older people make within their community and wider society.”

Arts Council NI fund DEEDS Project

The Old Library Trust is delighted to be the recipient of a new grant of £7, 067 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (Arts and Older People Programme) for their project: “Treasured Possessions: The People’s Artefacts” which will enable people with dementia from DEEDS to make a link to our local Tower Museum for a dementia friendly session looking at the people’s 10 artefacts, reminiscing and engaging in storytelling about the objects. Back in their social groups the members will explore what possessions they may have at home that they treasure most. The members will then work with two artists who will help collect their own stories and the group will be photographed with their treasured possessions. The artist photographer will lead an art workshop in portraiture from its beginnings in paintings, cameos, silhouettes and leading into photography. The members will work with polaroid cameras to take their own portraits at the end of the workshop. Finally, two members from each of the 6 social groups will represent each area for a large-scale portrait with their Treasured Possession where the story of the person and the object will be embedded as a bar code into the portrait to hear when scanned by the viewer. The group and individual portraits will form an exhibition which will be mounted in both Derry and Strabane.
Sinead Devine, Co-ordinator is thrilled that this project has been funded. “The arts are a great connector for people living with dementia. This funding will give our members access to high quality arts provision which will enable them to express themselves with photography and storytelling. It will also further link those with dementia to the Museum Services in the Derry as part of our linking to the community focus.”
Betty Tower from the Tower Museum commented “The Tower Museum is delighted to be working with DEEDS to provide object handling workshops for their members in the Museum specifically designed for people living with Dementia. The Museum is working to becoming Dementia Friendly which can be seen in the work that we do with Nursing and Care homes as well as our exhibitions. This new project will add a new dimension to the work which is helping to make Derry and Strabane a dementia friendly region.”
Lorraine Calderwood, Arts Programmes Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented, “We know that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, boost confidence and motivation, as well as help to relieve stress, loneliness worries and pain. The Arts and Older People Programme aims to increase opportunities for older people to engage in the arts and more recently, has focused on delivering arts activity within care home settings, working with residents living with dementia and their carers. Thanks to The National Lottery players, Baring Foundation and Public Health Agency, the Arts and Older People Programme is providing meaningful opportunities for our older people to take part in the arts, enriching their lives for the better and the Arts Council is thrilled to support this wonderful, engaging project from The Old Library Trust.”

Watch the site as we bring you updates on the progress of the project this winter.