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)