I’m Thomas Harrison. I’m aged 74. I took early retirement 15 years ago, which was a great decision. I’m very involved in volunteering and I thoroughly enjoy interacting with people. I find it very beneficial. I’m on the secretariat of the Roscommon Public Participation Network (PPN).
I’m also involved with the Roscommon Friendly Call Service. It’s a free and confidential service offered to people living alone in county Roscommon. Somebody told me about this call service in 2008 and as it happened I got involved on day 1. I thought it was a service that could be useful and it would be appreciated. There was training involved first. This call service commenced in October 2008 and I had the privilege of making the very first call.
“GRETB have been amazing in catering to the needs of older people”
We heard about GRETB and the assistance that they could give to local clubs such as ours. GRETB offers grants for training and education and you can apply for the grants each year. GRETB have been amazing in catering to the needs of older people as can be clearly seen from the extensive range of online classes which they made available to us since lockdown commenced. They have really excelled since COVID-19.
“We did the courses for a number of reasons. We did it because we’d learn from it, because it’s fun, because it was enjoyable and it was an opportunity for people to get together.”
We did the courses for a number of reasons. We did it because we’d learn from it, because it’s fun, because it was enjoyable and it was an opportunity for people to get together. We did online photography, cookery, health and wellness: a guide to self-care, mindfulness, nature and gardening, yoga, nutrition and healthy eating, gentle chair yoga, art, flower arranging, and online physical exercise for beginnings.
The other learners who took the courses were so pleased. They were ecstatic. They were so thankful that they were introduced to Zoom and it allowed them to do so many different things. It opened up doors for people that would have had nothing to do if they hadn’t embraced Zoom and gotten involved.
The tutors were amazing and I mean that genuinely. They made the courses so interesting and informative and educational. I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the GRETB staff involved, including Dolores McSharry, Ann McNamara, Anne Mannion, Martina Carroll, Caroline Naughton, and Stephen Devanney.
“I’d highly recommend that people get involved with their local Education and Training Board and to truly enjoy and appreciate what’s on offer.”
Last March I didn’t even know the word Zoom existed, and I wasn’t alone. But the more often you log in, the better you get at it, and you get comfortable doing it. It’s a bit intimidating at the outset, but after a couple of sessions, you take to it like a duck to water. It was a positive thing that came out of COVID-19, that I had to learn Zoom. I was on the board of Active Retirement and they had their meetings via Zoom so I had to learn Zoom.
I’d highly recommend that people get involved with their local Education and Training Board and to truly enjoy and appreciate what’s on offer. I wouldn’t be hesitant at all about getting involved because of Zoom. Going on Zoom, after a couple of sessions you become very proficient at it. After one or two sessions you’re totally self-sufficient. I would urge people to embrace Zoom because there’s going to be a lot more things on Zoom going forward.
AONTAS is running a national campaign from 1st – 14th September 2021 to raise awareness about returning to education as an adult. Are you thinking of returning to education? Visit www.OneStepUp.ie today or call 1 800 303 669 (free) to speak directly with an AONTAS member of staff.
You may also be interested in the following links:
The purpose of the PPN is to bring together communities, voluntary and environmental groups so they can participate in local decision-making issues in conjunction with the local authority.
This is a free and confidential service offered to people living alone in county Roscommon. The service is managed by trained volunteers and workers and it’s available Monday to Friday. Interested people are contacted at a pre-agreed time and there will be plenty of time for a chat to find out useful information, talk about current and local events, and find ways of linking with other local services. People can arrange how often they want to be contacted.