Tenants roll back the years at festive event

People from Clanmil Housing's independent living scheme enjoying stepping back in time for a Victorian Christmas at The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.  This included tenants from Cambridge Close in Carrickfergus, along with Cambridge Close scheme co-ordinator Liz Kay (far left).  Picture: Michael Cooper
People from Clanmil Housing's independent living scheme enjoying stepping back in time for a Victorian Christmas at The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. This included tenants from Cambridge Close in Carrickfergus, along with Cambridge Close scheme co-ordinator Liz Kay (far left). Picture: Michael Cooper

Residents of Clanmil Housing Association’s independent living scheme in Carrickfergus have enjoyed an authentic Victorian Christmas.

Tenants from the Cambridge Close scheme in the borough were just some of the 100 older people rolling back the years during the event at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum last week.

Organised by Clanmil Housing and the National Museums Northern Ireland, the occasion is part of a unique Big Lottery scheme that gives older people living in sheltered housing a chance to take part in workshops and experiences at museum sites.

The five-year Treasure House project aims to help prompt memories and start conversations, in turn helping to combat loneliness and establish new connections for more than 1,000 of Clanmil’s older tenants who have taken part in activities over the past 16 months.

Last week’s visit brought the festive season alive with traditional arts and crafts, festive music and period costumes, all greatly enjoyed by the Carrick group. Liz Kay, co-ordinator of the Cambridge Close scheme, said: “We had about six residents who came along to the event on Tuesday. Through the Treasure House project the tenants are offered the chance to make monthly trips to the Ulster Museum or Folk and Transport Museum;we’ve had things like a summer fete at Cultra and porcelain workshops at the Ulster Museum.”

Brendan Morrissey, Housing manager at Clanmil, added: “This is a great way for all the participants to reflect on and celebrate their achievements in the past 16 months of the project and to toast old friends and new. While the focus is very much on fun, Treasure House has been successful in helping to deal with difficult issues such as loneliness and isolation that sadly do affect many people in older life.