Belfast Telegraph

Minister visits museum project aimed at helping alleviate social isolation

Deirdre Hargey met those involved with the project on a tour at Ulster Museum.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey (second from left) visits participants in a community programme at Ulster Museum (National Museums NI/PA)
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey (second from left) visits participants in a community programme at Ulster Museum (National Museums NI/PA)

By Rebecca Black, PA

Stormont’s new Communities Minister has visited the Ulster Museum to meet those involved in a project aimed at helping elderly people at risk of social isolation.

Deirdre Hargey learned about Live Well during one of her first ministerial visits on Wednesday.

The project, funded by the lottery and Department for Communities, has delivered 600 sessions aimed at encouraging the development of new skills and social connections through museum-based learning activities.

An independent evaluation of the project has found that 98% of participants felt they got to know people better, 96% reported feeling more confident and 100% engaged in new learning.

Ms Hargey met a number of project participants.

“Older people are the bedrock of our communities,” she said.

“Their stories and memories are the bridge from the past to the present.

“The Live Well project is a perfect demonstration of how our museums deliver real educational and social value to local communities.

“The project has proved highly effective in reaching older people and having a positive impact on the wellbeing of the people involved.”

Kathryn Thomson, chief executive of National Museums NI, added: “Our museums play a vital role in helping people and communities connect with collections, culture and, importantly, with each other.

“Museums exist for the benefit of everyone and we are committed to increasing access for everyone to generate a positive social impact through projects such as Live Well.”

PA

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