|6 May, 2009|
|For some years now the local Active Retirement Group in Ballyduff has organized an “Alzheimer’s Tea Party” and a “Bealtaine” Festival event on the same day. This event has created a social setting and made some money for a good cause at the same time. People from the local community come together for a chat and a cup of tea, and give a voluntary donation to the charity. To give a special flavor to the event, members of the group arrange an exhibition of their handicraft and art work in what has become known as the festival which “celebrates creativity in older people”.|
This year was special. The event has been held in the Family Resource Centre, known locally as “Buds” before, but during the past year the centre has been shut for renovation and extension, and now it is nearly finished. The amount of work carried out has been amazing. There are now three beautiful new rooms for child-care, a large room upstairs overlooking the village street, for meetings, and, on the ground floor a drop-in café opening on to the street. Upstairs, as well as administrative offices, there are small rooms for individual counseling and therapeutic work. The premises is ideal for art exhibitions.
To mark the occasion the group invited a very special speaker, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan T.D., to open the event, which this year was on the May Bank Holiday Monday, (4th May). Jimmy is well known for his interest in, and support for the arts, and spoke about the value of art as a therapy, a form of relaxation and self-expression, and as a fulfilling hobby. He congratulated the group on the high standard of their work, and thanked everyone who had worked so hard over a period of many years to bring the centre up to its present state. It will, he said, play a central role in bringing the community together in the years to come, and is a facility which can be used and enjoyed by all age-groups.
The group has been fortunate in having the talented local artist Mary Allen as their teacher over the past two years, and many of the members who attended her classes had never painted before. There was a wide variety of craft exhibits on show as well, including knitting, embroidery, crochet, appliqué, collage, and macramé. There was a very good attendance, and the group are particularly grateful to the members of other active retirement groups, especially Ballybunion and Listowel, who came to support their activity. The evening concluded with dancing, to the music of the popular Stevie Donegan, and a magnificent raffle with numerous prizes. Thanks to this, and the generous donations, the group will be able to present a cheque for €800 to the Rosemary Centre in Tralee, which cares for and supports people with Alzheimer’s disease.