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Are you looking for an opportunity to help make Galway a better place for older people?

Touchstone—New course beginning in May 2015

Are you interested in becoming more actively involved in the life of your local community? Are you looking for an opportunity to help make Galway a better place for older people? Would you like to meet like-minded people who are keen to make a difference in their local community? Then, if you’re aged 55 or over and living in Galway city or county, Touchstone may be right for you!

What is Touchstone?

Touchstone is a new short course which aims to develop the skills and knowledge of people who wish to play a part in helping to make their communities more age friendly. People attending the free course will develop new skills, explore a range of interesting and topical issues, carry out practical projects, try new experiences, have some fun and, hopefully, make new friends. No previous experience or qualifications are required. All we ask is that participants have experience of everyday life in Galway, an open mind and a willingness to try out new things!

How long is the course?

Touchstone runs over six weeks, with each weekly session lasting around two hours. Initially, the course will be held on two different days each week, Tuesday and Wednesday. You will attend on only one of the days and can simply choose which day suits you best. The Wednesday course will run on mornings, beginning on Wednesday, May 20th. The Tuesday course will run on afternoons, beginning on Tuesday, June 2nd.

At the end of the course, and only if you wish, there will be an opportunity to apply your new knowledge and skills on a practical project over the summer months. In September, we plan to bring people from the Tuesday and Wednesday courses together for a joint celebration event. This will be the chance to reflect on learnings from the course and from any projects that have been completed. You will have an opportunity to consider other ways of getting involved in community life in Galway in the future.

What does the course cover?

The course will be led by a team based at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG), NUI Galway, with input from Active Retirement Ireland, Age & Opportunity and Third Age. Anticipated course content includes: key issues for an ageing society and how these affect older adults; how to bring about improvement and change for older people; opportunities available for older people who wish to be actively involved in community life; getting started with research; and planning and managing practical projects. Participants will also have an opportunity to attend optional sessions on using the media to support engagement in community life and using the formal political system to bring about change.

Who developed Touchstone?

Touchstone has been developed by the Active Ageing Partnership—an initiative of Active Retirement Ireland, Age & Opportunity and Third Age. In Galway, Touchstone also involves the cooperation of Age Friendly Ireland and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG), NUI Galway. ICSG is leading the development and evaluation of the Touchstone programme in Galway.

Additional information

The course is free. Sessions on the Wednesday course will run on mornings from 10:30am–12:30pm, with lunch to follow. Sessions on the Tuesday course will run on afternoons from 1:45–3:45pm, with lunch available from 1pm. All sessions will be held in the new Institute for Lifecourse and Society building, NUI Galway, on the Upper Newcastle Road next to the University’s park and ride car park. You will receive a certificate of attendance when you complete the course.

What do I need to do if I’m interested?

If you are interested in joining the Touchstone course, please contact Ann Marie Atkins, Touchstone Galway Co-ordinator: telephone 086 026 1408 or email [email protected] as soon as possible. She will make a note of your name, contact details (telephone number, address and email address, if you have one), and preference for the Tuesday or Wednesday course.

Places on the course are limited and will be allocated on a first come-first served basis. Early application is strongly advised. Our aim is to recruit course participants from as diverse a group as is possible. For this reason, some places may be reserved for applicants from under-represented groups.

We will send out course information for the Wednesday course by Friday the 8th of May and for the Tuesday course by Friday the 22nd of May.

For further details, Contact Ann Marie Atkins, Touchstone Galway Coordinator/ICSG Research Assistant, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. Email [email protected] or phone 086 026 1408.