‘Sometimes a hug is enough’ – Newry initiative aims to reach out to elderly and vulnerable

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Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Community, News, What's On
Some people want a luxury car, a new house, a holiday abroad or the latest gadget.
Major John Parrot has called on the local community to nominate

Major John Parrot has called on the local community to nominate an elderly person for a

But for some of Newry’s pensioners, many of whom live in isolation and loneliness, a hug is all they want, or a cup of tea and a bit of craic with somebody. Unfortunately, for various reasons, our OAPs are sitting in their homes alone with no visitors, or in a nursing home, wishing they could enjoy some company or get help with paying essential bills. Now, as The Salvation Army make preparations for their Anniversary Weekend to be held later this month, to mark the 125th year of presence in Newry, the local ministers, Majors John and Marjory Parrott are looking to reach out to the elderly and vulnerable in Newry & Mourne, through a new initiative called ‘Celebration Cartons’. Describing the initiative to Newry Times, Major John Parrott explained, “In every community there are a number of invisible senior people, who are experiencing a whole range of isolation, loneliness and vulnerability. “The aim of Celebration Cartons is to reach out to those people, and offer a simple gift of kindness and care.”
Images courtesy of Age NI’

The aim of Celebration Cartons is to reach out to elderly people and offer a simple gift of kindness and care. Image courtesy of Age NI

Major Parrott continued by outlining the purpose of the new initiative. “We want, with the help of community nominations to identify seniors who would benefit from these cartons. “Of course each person may have different needs than another, and we would like to strive to meet those needs within reason. “Some of the items needed most may be the small luxuries not within reach of a pensioner, such as the odd treat which the individual cannot afford from their pension. “Some help with electricity may be the greatest gift needed by someone, or something as simple as having someone call in on a regular basis, to share a smile, a cuppa and a chat.” Major Parrott continues, “It breaks my heart to think that in this society there are people who, if they were not seen or heard for a number of days would not be missed. “There are some local people who don’t have family living near and therefore experience feelings of being unloved, isolation and fear, as the years progress perhaps if we can identify some of these people we could minimize the loneliness.” The Salvation Army are also willing to host appropriate activities aimed at the seniors, in their Community Drop In Centre on Margaret Street, should there be a proven need for such. Major Parrot continued, “We are offering these cartons, visiting and community facilities at no cost to the individuals or local government departments, we seek only to reach out to people, and in the tradition of The Salvation Army to demonstrate compassion for other human beings.
The local community is being urged to nominate an elderly man or woman. Image courtesy of Age NI

The local community is being urged to nominate an elderly man or woman. Image courtesy of Age NI

“We have been searching to find people to receive the cartons since February 2015, with only one referral being made by the Police in Armagh.” Calling for support from the local community, he stated, “Newry Times readers are urged to support this appeal, not by money or donations just a little time to give us a call, and nominate someone you know or live close to.” Major John Parrott will deliver the cartons and will produce official Salvation Army Identification when calling. He will also make prior arrangements with the nominee or other person before visiting to maintain security of the seniors involved. Names and addresses of those nominated will be retained in a secure location and not made available to anyone outside the organization. Those wishing to nominate someone can call into the centre in Margaret Street, Newry, email The Salvation Army, or telephone the centre on 02830263537 for more information and to give the required details.
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