‘First ever’ older people’s group in Lisburn celebrates funding

IMG Members of the Sarah Crothers Senior Citizens group from Lisburn
IMG Members of the Sarah Crothers Senior Citizens group from Lisburn

Lisburn’s ‘first ever’ group for older people has successfully secured much needed funding, thanks to the support of Age NI’s Steps to Funding project.

After attending a project workshop, the Sarah Crothers Senior Citizens group applied for and received a small grant for £8750 through the Big Lottery’s Awards for All programme.

Norah McNally, Treasurer, said: “I’ve been involved with the Sarah Crothers Senior Citizens group for many years and it has been a struggle in the past to source funding. This time we desperately needed financial help for vital renovations to the premises we use – the Sarah Crothers Centre located just off Warren Park. However I didn’t know how to apply or who or where to go for further advice or support. I felt that training and guidance would help me to gain the necessary knowledge, experience and confidence I needed to apply for funding to restore the flooring which has become badly worn due to years of footfall. I found out about the Age NI Steps to Funding project and decided to give the workshops a go.

“The building was purpose built 40 years ago by the group’s founder Mrs Maureen McKinney, and named in memory of her mother. It is made of wood and is in reasonably good order. It is used regularly by ourselves and other local community groups who have supported us with the uptake of the building in various ways. The large hall hosts a series of activities each week including keep fit classes, advice and information presentations, arts and craft, music, singing and tea dances.

“Our group has been going for 40 years. In fact, we’re celebrating our 40 year anniversary this April with a party. We’re a thriving bunch consisting of twenty two people, ranging in ages 65 to 97 years old, who attend every Wednesday night between 7pm-9pm. As the ‘first ever’ senior citizens group in the Lisburn area, we’re very proud of this fact - that’s why maintenance of our building is very important to us.

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive the funding from Awards for All. It’s the first award we’ve received for some time. Thanks to Age NI’s Steps to Funding project, there’ll be no holding us back applying for everything! I’d say to other groups who feel disheartened about grant applications to keep trying. Although I applied for various grants over the years and was unsuccessful, I didn’t lose heart. The maintenance of our building, the safety of our group, and the opportunity to support older people, and bring about positive change in the local community, is most important.”