Mayo Abbey Active Retirement Association
Mayo Abbey Active Retirement Association (A.R.A.) is in existence since September 2001, has gone from strength to strength and is affiliated to the Irish Federation of Active Retirement Associations.
Committee members past & present: the first chairman was Jack Lindsay with Peter Finn as secretary. After that Jimmy Finn took the chair and Catherine Gibbons as secretary. Treasurers were Winnie Tunney and Tom Donoghue. Present committee: chairperson Tom Donoghue, secretary Catherine Gibbons, treasurers: Winnie Tunney and Martin Gibbons.
For many years before Active Retirement was set up, the Annual Dinner was organised by the Mayo Abbey / Facefield Ladies group which was established in 1994, and in the early years this group held their meetings in the G.A.A. Clubhouse. We started with 20 members and we now have 50 members. New members are welcome and we plan to expand our variety of activities. Annual membership is collected to cover the insurance and the running of the group. It was set up to give the elderly in the parish a social outlet and to source funding for benefits for the elderly.
The group meet every Friday when they come into the Centre for a four course dinner. Every second Friday we provide a range of activities, ranging from bingo, flower arranging, basket making, gentle / light exercise, indoor bowls, social evenings, day trips and short holiday breaks, watching videos, water colour painting, glass painting, demonstrations, listening to guest speakers on different topics e.g. your entitlements / legal rights and much more. During the summer, outings for Sunday dinner is very popular.
- Some members avail of the service of the community bus (collection and drop back home).
- Elderly are transported for medical appointments, pensions and shopping
- Hot meal delivery service provision Mondays and Wednesdays
- Community laundry is open daily Monday – Thursday 10am – 4pm & Friday 9.30am – 12.30pm.
We were one of the first in the county to bring in outside groups to afternoon socials held on Fridays. Having attended socials in other centres we now hold our socials in the evenings with refreshments on arrival followed by music and dancing. They have no problem dancing the night away till 11.00 p.m. and sometimes later. This is a lot more acceptable to everyone as there are now more men attending. We have been to Balla, Louisburg, Kilmovee, Lahardane, Parke, Ballina, Crossmolina and Loughrea. We have had groups at our socials from, Louisburg, Kilmovee, Lahardane, Parke, Loughrea, Ballina, Balla, Crossmolina, Taugheen and Westport.
Our most adventurous project was in November 2008 when we published and launched our book called “Childhood Memories” by members of our Group. The idea for this came from one of our staff. We then applied for funding from The Community Foundation for Ireland to get a facilitator to motivate our members. We were very lucky to get Bettina Peterseil who met with members on a number of Fridays and guided them in ideas to write about.
The book is dedicated to the memory of our members who have gone to their eternal reward. Jim Staunton, Brod Sloyan, Eddie Butler, Kathleen McNicholas, Baby Prendergast, Joan Wrigley, Jimmy Jennings, Joe McDonnell, Mary Brown and Minnie Finn and anyone we have omitted. We are glad to say that out of our 50 members, 20 wrote for the book. The book contains features that will remind us of school days past. It will also give younger people an idea of the times their grandparents grew up in, and a lifestyle so far removed from to-days. Although the writers came from many different backgrounds and places, you will see similarities in the way they lived.
The book titled “Childhood Memories” is available for purchase at the Centre at a cost of €10.00 and the feedback on it is positive and that it is an enjoyable read.
In appreciation and thanks to the Western Health Board (H.S.E.), F.A.S, and contributions from the community council that we can provide such a good service to the elderly of our community.