Farmers leading drive to combat loneliness
Farmers are lending a listening ear to elderly people in an effort to reduce loneliness and isolation in north Kerry.
Last year, farmers taking part in the Rural Social Scheme underwent a pilot Home Visitation project with North East West Kerry Development (NEWKD), where they would visit an elderly person in pairs each week.
The project began as public health nurses in the area voiced their concerns about elderly people who were living alone in the region and feeling isolated.
"We increasingly meet people living on their own who may have lost contact with friends and neighbours as they grow older and communities change," says north Kerry nurse Ena McEvoy.
"Older people love to talk and socialise and engage, and this project gives them the opportunity to do so."
Anita Bodenham, Rural Social Scheme supervisor with NEWKD, says people look forward to the farmers visiting each week and that it means a lot to them.
"The clients couldn't speak highly enough of the scheme. They love the visits. The 40 or 50 minutes they get with the farmers involved may seem small but it's massive to them," she says.
The initiative covers Listowel, Ballybunion, Moyvane and everywhere in between.