Hoping to help people connect through a shared love of arts and culture, Cork Cultural Companions is a new initiative aimed at the older community.
Aware that the past few months have been especially isolating for older members of the community - many of whom have been cocooning for several weeks now - the project was set up as a way for people to socialise and make new friends while still staying safe.
Giving people the opportunity to engage with the vibrant local arts and culture scene, anyone over the age of 55 can sign up to be a part of the local network which is made up of like-minded individuals interested in attending various virtual events together.
An initiative of Age and Opportunity, organisers have said that Cork Cultural Companions "particularly aims to address the issue of social isolation amongst older people by also providing volunteer companions for encouragement and support at live events".
Originally due to launch in April of last year, plans were pushed out in light of ongoing public health restrictions. Back with a new revised model, the project is ready to launch once again and will kick off next Tuesday with the rollout of a varied series of its own online events and activities run in conjunction with cultural venues and organisations.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Cork Cultural Companions co-ordinator Barbara Quinn commented:
"Many of us would probably go to a lot more plays, films, shows, concerts, exhibitions or other events if we had someone to go with. There is a thriving social and arts scene out there to be enjoyed if only we had someone with the know-how or simply the shared interest to get us going.
"That is where Cultural Companions comes in. The project will set up local networks of people interested in arts and culture that will accompany each other to events when they are permitted and encourage each other to connect with and engage in online cultural events and activities for now."
Adding that it's unfortunate people can't meet in person for now, Quinn said that organisers have adapted the approach this year to ensure it's still of use to older people.
"It has never been more important to have these connections with the outside world and to have something to look forward to," she noted.
Free to join, the project endeavours to keep locals up to date on what's happening in the area with the full line-up of cultural events to be announced at the launch next week.
Anyone interested in hearing more can register to attend the online launch on March 9 by contacting Barbara Quinn (via mobile on 085-1300335 or by emailing [email protected]).