Christmas is going with a swing for the over 60s in Point and Sandwick thanks to donations totalling £3,100 from Point and Sandwick Trust.
The community wind farm charity gave festive grants to three friendship groups for the over 60s so they could put on Christmas parties without having to worry about the cost.
Tiumpan Young at Heart club received £1,300 which went towards a meal in the Cabarfeidh Hotel; Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall received £1,000 towards lunch in the Boatshed restaurant in the Royal Hotel; and Tiumpanhead Community Association received £800 towards the costs of putting on a lunch in the Tiumpanhead Community Centre in Aird.
Tiumpanhead’s Christmas dinner in the community centre had also been made possible by a grant of £9,250 earlier in the year from Point and Sandwick Trust – which allowed them to upgrade the kitchen in the community centre to meet catering standards. This allowed the association to put on a monthly cafe, which has been very successful, and also came in very useful for the practicalities of serving up a Christmas meal.
On top of the grants, Point and Sandwick Trust also gave the groups the use of the PST minibus, so they could pick up members without transport and take them home again.
And as these pictures show, a great time was had by all.
The first party to take place was Tiumpanhead Community Association’s Christmas lunch on Saturday, December 8.
Grace Smith, Chair of the community association, said lots of people had been getting in touch to say they had enjoyed “the best day out”. As well as the meal, there was entertainment from the Clarsach Society and Santa popped in too.
“I think everybody thoroughly enjoyed it and we also got a grant from PST to go towards the Christmas meal. We normally would have done fundraising but that is a huge help.”
The association delivered food parcels to those group members who were housebound, meaning they had brought the festive spirit to 50 people at the lunch and a further 17 at home.
Seven of the members were picked up by the PST minibus and Grace said it had also been nice to show everyone their new kitchen and what it could do.
She said the event had given people “a huge lift” – “and it gives us a lift, just being able to see how much they enjoy it. It’s good fun. Lots of laughs, lots of good food, good company, a few drams if you want it – and it’s all free, although people very kindly buy raffle tickets because they feel they should be giving something”.
Next, 47 members of the Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall group went to the Boatshed restaurant in Stornoway on Tuesday, December 11 for their lunch.
There was entertainment from Country and Western singers The Country Gael and Cairdean Chair Duncan Don said it was an “excellent” afternoon, with tremendous food and great service.
“We had the use of the Point and Sandwick Trust minibus which was lucky because we had quite a few in the group that weren’t all that keen to come along until I said I would pick them up and drop them off. Then they were more than happy to come along and join the festivities for the afternoon.”
The £1,000 from Point and Sandwick Trust paid for the lunch and he said: “Point and Sandwick Trust are really good to us and they’re always there. Every time I’m down in the shop and see Donald John, he asks me ‘what are you after now?’ and I say, ‘I’ll take anything but blows…!’”
Seriously, he added: “We don’t have anybody else assisting us. Everything we do, we have to do ourselves and the support from Point and Sandwick Trust makes the difference and keeps this group going.”
“We need as many new members as we can get. Of course, some of the Point and Sandwick crowd are reaching that age as well… and they would be more than welcome to join!”
Finally, the Tiumpan Young at Heart Club celebrated Christmas with a night out at the Cabarfeidh Hotel on Thursday, December 13. The £1,300 from Point and Sandwick Trust went towards the costs of the meal and coach hire.
Entertainment was provided by musical duo John Murdo and Murdo Alex, and the group also took Point and Sandwick Trust General Manager Donald John MacSween, and wife Marina, with them “because they are so good to us”.
Kenny Nicholson, Chair of the Young at Heart Club, said: “A fantastic meal was had by all” – and afterwards there were a few on the floor, dancing.
“I’m sure some of them didn’t want to go home,” he said.
“The Caberfeidh did us proud as well. We had a choice of menu and there was plenty wine. Once you start on the wine it goes to the head pretty quickly but fortunately I was driving. It was a good craic. We were also saying, that if it wasn’t for this club, we wouldn't even know each other. It makes such a difference for these people.”
It was all made possible by the donation from Point and Sandwick Trust, he said. “We couldn’t have afforded it otherwise. We were so delighted when the money came in.”
General Manager Donald John MacSween said Point and Sandwick Trust were “absolutely delighted to help these groups that do so much to combat social isolation”, especially at this time of year.
He added: “Marina and I had a great time at the Caberfeidh. Thanks to the Young at Heart Club for inviting us. They’re great fun.”
Pictures of the Tiumpanhead Community Association and Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall events are courtesy of these clubs.
Pictures of the Tiumpan Young at Heart Club’s dinner in the Cabarfeidh Hotel are by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos.