The Healthy Ageing Network in Derry (HAND) project aims toprovide a sustainable service for the elderly within the Derry City Councilrural area by creating a viable and sustainable social economy cluster. The money generated through the socialenterprises will fund services for older people that will promote betterhealth, improved well-being and provide greater support, contributing towardsindependent and active lifestyles. This project will target those older peoplewho currently do not engage with the services that are provided locally,especially the more physically and mentally active older people who have justretired and are finding this transition period quite difficult. The manager at RAPID, Philip O’Kane believesthat “older people represent a reservoir of untappedtalent that can be mobilised to support the rural social enterprises asevidence indicates that older people are often better able to make a success ofsuch a business due to their experience and skill base. There is every reasontherefore to believe that having older people take up key roles in themanagement of this cluster would result in positive repercussions for thesocial capital of their community. Thispoint was reiterated by North West Marketing during the development of theproject’s business case.”
Due to their knowledge and experience,wherever possible, older people will also be recruited as project volunteersfor the social economy cluster, meaning that the project beneficiaries willalso be heavily involved in the day to day running of the social enterprises. This will give the older people residing inDerry~Londonderry’s rural areas the opportunity to play a meaningful rolewithin their community, utilise their skills, and socialise within anenvironment which is mentally and physically stimulating. The project is alsogoing to benefit the less physically active older people of ruralDerry~Londonderry who are unable to volunteer within the social economybusinesses, the programme of activities funded through the businesses willprovide equal opportunities for mental, physical and social stimulation in amore appropriate environment.