A friendship group for older people from Point recently celebrated its 100th monthly meeting – and is inviting other members of the community to join the fun.
Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall held its landmark social event on October 2, at Ionad Stoodie community centre, and enjoyed a talk from Dr Ali Whiteford on the subject of Industrial Garrabost.
Dr Whiteford had also been the Cairdean’s first guest speaker, coming to talk to their inaugural social meeting back in 2007.
This time, he spoke about the old flour mill and Lews Brick sites, as well as showing drone footage of the area, which had been taken by Douglas Leadbetter.
Duncan Don, chair of the Cairdean, said it was an excellent afternoon – “very informative” – and urged other over-60s in their part of Point to come along, if they have never been before.
Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall is one of the biggest friendship groups for older folk in the Outer Hebrides, with around 65 members.
They hold a social afternoon at Ionad Stoodie on the first Tuesday of every month and have various other activities and outings through the year, including a trip to the mainland every summer, fundraising soup and pudding events, plus meals out.
The Cairdean receive financial and moral support from community wind farm Point and Sandwick Trust, which gave them around £850 earlier this year towards the costs of their holiday and the monthly hire of the hall.
They also receive money from PST towards their Christmas lunch and get the use of the wind farm’s minibus, when required.
Donald John MacSween, Point and Sandwick Trust General Manager, said the community wind farm charity would always do its best by the Cairdean.
“We are very pleased to help this group. They put on excellent social events and provide a very important social focus for people who may otherwise become very isolated and lonely.
“Social isolation is one of the great problems with an ageing population like ours and all too often their needs are ignored. It is so important to get out and about and meet others – to stay alive and connected to your community. Support for these types of organisations is a key component of our Business and Community Development Plan.”
Around 40 people usually attend the Cairdean’s monthly get-togethers and Duncan Don said they always tried their best to arrange transport for anyone who might want to come along but have a problem with transport or mobility.
But the age and fitness profile of many members means the Cairdean group had even managed, during a previous summer trip, to get up Cairngorm mountain on the funicular railway and enjoy lunch in the Ptarmigan restaurant.
Duncan Don stressed the benefits of belonging to the group, inviting new people to “just come along”. They usually have guest speakers or entertainment at the monthly meetings – and Duncan Don stressed how much of a difference the Cairdean had made to his own life.
“When I joined this group, I didn’t know anyone at all. We had come here in 2004 and it was 2007 that I started going to the group. I didn’t know anyone but since then I’ve met lots of people that I’m very, very friendly with and I would go anywhere with.”
Membership of the Cairdean is open to anyone aged 60 and over – there is no upper age limit – and living anywhere in Point from Aignish and Knock down to the Shulishader boundary.
Picture from Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall’s 100th taken by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos - Duncan Don, left, and Dr Ali Whiteford, and the cake.