first_imgMark McCollum, co-ordinator, Voice of Older People, Donegal, welcomes Winston Patterson, board member, International Fund for Ireland to the screeneing of a DVD based on interviews with older people from all over Donegal in the Balor Theatre, Ballybofey, on Monday. Also included, from left are, Mary Devlin, Programme Manager, International Fund for Ireland, John McGlinchey, Chairman, Voice of Older People, Donegal and Tracey Bonner, International Fund for Ireland.Local residents and community representatives came together at The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey for a special DVD screening to celebrate the successful completion of ‘Hearing Older People’s Experiences’ (HOPE) – a two-year peace and reconciliation programme targeting older people in Donegal.Funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) under its Community Based Economic and Social Regeneration Programme, the HOPE project is administered by the Voice of Older People, Donegal.Over a two-year period, the initiative worked to empower older people from Donegal to identify and articulate the issues which have impacted upon and affected their quality of life as a result of the legacy of conflict and to support them in identifying, developing and implementing appropriate responses. Bringing participants together from different backgrounds and traditions, the project had a strong emphasis on engaging with those living in rural isolation in areas along the border.It involved four distinct elements: collaborative workshops, training in cross-community history and genealogy, a story sharing programme and the creation of a DVD based on interviews with participants in the project, who shared their personal recollections of life in Donegal over the years.In addition to organising individual screenings at each of the participating centres, it is planned to broadcast audio content from the DVD on independent local community radio.Speaking at the event, Mr Winston Patterson, Board member of the International Fund for Ireland, said the Fund was proud to be associated with the Voice of Older People, Donegal and their tremendous work toward building a shared future for communities in the region who suffered greatly as a consequence of the Troubles. Mr Patterson said: “The ‘Hearing Other People’s Experiences’ project has enabled older people in Donegal – particularly those from isolated areas along the border – to come together to share their experiences in an atmosphere of mutual respect.“By strengthening the voices of older people from all traditions, we believe this pioneering project will continue to have a very positive long-term impact for reconciliation and promoting greater cross-community links.”Mr Patterson also expressed a collective thanks to the international donors who have supported the work of the International Fund for Ireland for more than twenty-five years – the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.Mark McCollum, Project Co-ordinator said: “I would like to acknowledge the generous support we’ve received from the International Fund for Ireland for this two-year project – the benefits of which will continue to be felt long after the programme finishes.“It was a privilege and honour to work with people throughout the County and to listen to them tell their stories, express their feelings, recount experiences and the difficulties and challenges they faced. The advice and wisdom they shared is relevant here and now for the current generation – indeed they extol a level of simple, common-sense that seems to be in short supply in modern life.” “It emerged that simple conversations, social interaction and dialogue combined with a sense of humour were at the heart of their communities, irrespective of background or tradition. This can be extrapolated to our wider society – the need for communication and dialogue to increase understanding, dispel mistrust, challenge misplaced attitudes and, of course, to remember not to take things too seriously and that by using simple common sense much can be achieved.”“The success of the programme in bringing older people together from both traditions to share their experiences has surpassed our expectations, helping to create greater understanding of the issues experienced by older people as a consequence of the legacy of the Troubles. This will have a lasting impact in terms of reconciliation in Donegal.”SPECIAL DVD ALLOWS OLDER PEOPLE’S VOICES TO BE HEARD IN DONEGAL was last modified: July 9th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

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