Havin’ a Laugh Coffee Morning

09/08/21 at 11am

A wide variety of topics were discussed at this month’s Coffee Morning, with the majority of the conversation about available Mental Health services. We also had a visit from Riona Rochford from the Volunteer Centre in Sligo, who had lots of great information on Volunteering. Inevitably, given the fact that we are Irish, the coffee morning started with a chat about the weather.

The Weather

We’ve had a lot of flooding recently, with all our rivers and streams swollen. One member joked that her dogs were wildly excited by the height of the water in a stream she walks by, and she was afraid they’d jump in. Another member noticed the power that the rising river had. He found its newfound strength a wonder to behold and was struck by its beauty. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day world that we forget the power of nature, and his comment really struck me. We all need to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Even with something as simple as a flowing river.

COVID

The weather conversation then fused with our new favourite topic as a nation: COVID. Everyone is feeling sorry for the restaurants and cafes at the moment having to serve food outside, and the poor unfortunates who sit trying to enjoy a cuppa or a meal in tents wrapped up in coats in the lashing rain. It is important to support local businesses at this time but it is a lot harder to do so in the rain.

A lot of us are getting fed up with COVID and all it brings. It’s hard to constantly hear about it and talk about it but it is still very much out there and many people, especially old people, are still terrified to leave their homes. Travelling to see loved ones abroad is still difficult, and the uncertainty around when that will be possible is disheartening for many. Isolating as a close contact also came up in conversation. The loneliness during self-isolation was discussed and also the disappointment of having to cancel plans when you are a close contact.

Comfort

The coffee morning was of great comfort to a few members this morning, with some saying it was so lovely seeing all of our faces on the screen. Another member said that, even though she is out and about a lot, there’s something lovely about being able to have a chat with people when she’s in her house on her own. I suppose we all have to remember how lonely everyone is and how starved some people are of social interaction. It’s really important to reach out when you are lonely.

This is such a tough time for everyone. We’ve never experienced anything quite like this. I find great comfort in the fact that everyone, in the whole world, is going through the same thing. There’s a kind of solidarity in that. But we have to be kind to ourselves. This is not easy but we will get through it. There will be a time when we can return to social gatherings and to some level of normality.

Mental Health Services in Sligo

Quite a lot of today’s talk covered the availability of Mental Health Services in Sligo. It is proving difficult for some to find services that are available, especially at the moment.

One great resource in Sligo is the Dochas Clubhouse. It is in a new location in the Northside Community Centre but can only cater for up to five people at a time due to social distancing. You have to be a member in order to attend and, in order to become a member, you have to be referred through the Mental Health Services.

Another resource in Sligo is 45 High Street (https://www.number45.ie/). It is open currently and it seems like a fun and inviting environment. They even run art classes. It is a drop-in centre and no referral is necessary.

Another service available is the National Counselling Service (https://www.sligoleitrimdirectory.ie/services-list/national-counselling-service-ncs/).

Volunteer Ireland

Riona Rochford from Volunteer Ireland also attended, and she had some great information on volunteering. You can find lots of opportunities for volunteering on www.I-VOL.ie.

She described Volunteer Ireland as a dating agency that pairs volunteers with those who need them. She loves chatting with people and trying to match them with the best volunteer or the best role as a volunteer. A lot of variety exists in the roles available, with many capable of being done from the comfort of your own home.

Volunteering is a great way of gaining experience and meeting people. Unfortunately, most volunteering roles only cater for those over the age of eighteen. Every two weeks, Riona runs an information session with her colleague Olivia. She will be popping into future coffee mornings to keep in touch with us all.

The monthly coffee mornings are going to stay online for the next few months, with the next live catch-up happening on Monday, September 6th, at 11 a.m.
Anyone is welcome to pop in say hello and listen or contribute to the conversation. Registration in advance to get an email zoom link on the morning.

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