Emer Mathews with members of the Junior Pirhana Swimming club, at the opening of Sannta's Grotto Keep Well Winter Wonderland Experience at Portarlington Leisure Centre Photo: Michael Scully
A series of initiatives will be rolled out in Laois over the coming months beginning under the 'Keep Well' campaign.
The Laois ‘Keep Well’ campaign is aimed at everyone in Laois and encourages everyone from young to elderly to get involved in the vibrant and diverse programmed activities and stay connected, keep active, be creative, eat well and mind your mood.
This ‘Keep Well’ campaign is brought to you with thanks to Healthy Ireland, an initiative of the Government of Ireland with funding from the Healthy Ireland Fund and the Sláintecare Fund delivered by Pobal.
In 2021 until March 31, a diverse range of initiatives will take place across the county.
Laois County Library Service is offering free virtual sessions to support community members deal with mental health issues, in the area of mediation, mindfulness and other mental health therapies.
The Library Service is continuing to offer housebound library services to marginalised and cocooning services and are expanding this service to isolated schools and other communities in 2021.
‘Getting On With IT’ is a new initiative from Laois Library Service aimed at providing access to technology (tablets) to older people with one-on-one training provided in the Libraries on special ‘age-friendly’ tablets.
ALONE will provide a Telephone Befriending service to Older People in Laois and also train and support volunteers. Contact ALONE at 0818 222 024. Muintír na Tire will compile a register of vulnerable persons to enhance and target services to the vulnerable in the County.
A Laois-wide programme of ‘Being Creative’ initiatives launches in the new year.
‘Make and Create Laois’ facilitates craft upcycling online tutorials with a different activity each week for four weeks.
‘Always Human’ is a project devised by Cabrini Cahill and in association with Dunamaise Arts Centre. Older people will be invited to share their memories and the artist will respond to these stories to create interactive installations or artworks.
Dunamaise will present the resulting artworks (live and online) engaging with the participating older audience members and wider community.
‘The Bandwagon’, a Laois School of Music and Music Generation Laois initiative is a live, mobile, pop-up music entertainment stage and studio system that will travel throughout the county with impromptu gigs and sessions.
'Musical Memories’ an intergenerational interactive, sing-a-long musical experience with songs from many different eras and genres is an initiative of Music Generation Laois and led by Nuala Kelly, Laois national schools, health care settings, community groups, and active retirement groups.
Artist and photographer Annie Holland, through the media of video and photography, is exploring with members of Laois rural and urban communities on how they are coping with COVID-19 and culminates in the creation of a visual document of this strange time in our history.
Local broadcaster Ann Marie Kelly is creating a podcast series ‘If the Walls Had Ears’ inspired by the lives of people who are breaking down barriers every day and continue to achieve in the face of adversity.
Laois Heritage Office has a range of nature-themed initiatives to promote the value of reconnecting with nature and how this can improve your mental health and wellbeing.
'Go Wild in the Garden! Gardening for Biodiversity Booklet' has been created to help people to look after wildlife in their garden, with a companion book for children with colouring pages. Books will be free.
A Nature Podcast Series exploring birds and other aspects of biodiversity with BirdWatch Ireland and guests, encourages people to get out and about in nature with knock-on positive impacts on well-being. Podcasts will be presented by Laois native Ricky Whelan.
Abbeyleix Sustainability Experience is a live and digital outdoor interactive exhibition as part of the Abbeyleix Climate Action Project, involving a 'Virtual walk' around Abbeyleix encouraging people to creatively engage with climate change and action. The project will be launched in March 2021.
The ‘Laois Jump in Puddles Challenge’ is an initiative to encourage childre and their parents/grandparents to play outdoors. Youth Work Ireland Laois will host a Fifa Championship Online, as well as being great fun, it’s a great way of keeping in touch with friends.
To keep in contact and find out more, go to https://laois.ie/keep-well/