Gillygooley YCDA – Member in Focus #34

Interview with Julie Donnell from Gillygooley Youth and Community Development Association

Tell us a bit about yourself and/or your organisation.

Here at Gillygooley Youth and Community Development Association, we strive to promote citizenship and community development for the good of all those living in and around the Gillygooley area.

We have established a great Community Centre for use by all in the area. We also aim to provide relief for those in need by reason of youth, age or any other disadvantage through any charitable means but in particular through the provision of recreational pursuits.

We are a charitable organisation and have a great team of volunteers. Our aim is to provide facilities in the interest of social welfare and improve the conditions of life for all in the area.

How well have you/your organisation adapted to the pandemic?

The pandemic has hit everyone hard. We have lost a number of users during this pandemic. Though we all have a certain level of fear, we as a community still managed to provide our recreational classes. During the late spring we offered our classes outdoors in line with local guidelines. We run yoga, tai chi and line dancing classes to the young and old. Thankfully the weather was kind.

We also delivered meals to the most vulnerable, (not just the elderly). We provided a buddy phone service for those that felt lonely. We offered pharmacy/grocery runs via local shops. Our volunteers were undeterred. Although we are currently quiet with no outdoor classes, we have planned to get these up and running ASAP in line with government guidance. Our meetings have been much smaller but we developed a whats app group so we can share information and ideas for discussion.

How well have people/organisations in your area collaborated throughout the pandemic?
At first people were very cautious, but that soon changed. We used our healthy meals to break that initial isolation. We then invited the members of the community to our gazebo classes. It sounded crazy but it brought the community out even if it was just to see how it was going to work. What started out as a ludicrous plan, actually went on to be very successful. Even now some of our classes are online during complete lockdown. Our classes have been supported by both young and old with a range of 90 years! Our youngest line dancer was 6 and the oldest 96.
What key needs are becoming apparent and/or are likely to arise this year?

During this complete lockdown we need to bring the community back out. We need to break the isolation all over again. We want the community to know that their health is our priority. Hopefully we will manage to secure funding again to provide our healthy meals. This is really good as an icebreaker, an act of kindness that is very much appreciated by those in need.

Mental health and wellness will be our key focus, we aim to get our socialising up and running in line with government guidelines. This year we aim to promote our outdoor space. To develop the land at the rear of our community centre to promote awareness of nature.

ASK: What do you need, right now, that the members of Community Network NI and/or the wider community may be able to help you with?
We are seeking funding for our healthy meals and would be keen to know of any potential funding pots. Also we would love to develop our nature area at the rear of our centre. We are open to ideas. If other groups have developed similar areas into nature/games/sport areas we would love to see before and after pictures. For ideas to work towards and any advice on achieving these goals would also be appreciated.
👋 If you would like to respond to this ask, please follow the link below and enter “Gillygooley YCDA” to the first field the form.

OFFER: What support are you currently offering and are you open to members of Community Network NI and/or the wider community making contact?

Our volunteers currently check in on the most vulnerable within the community. We very much value the time and help our volunteers provide.

👋 If you would like to be connected with this offer of support, please follow the link below and enter “Gillygooley YCDA” to the first field the form.

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