Martin Whitfield MSP visits Riverside House

Martin Whitfield MSP for South Scotland (Region) visited Eildon’s supported housing development Riverside House, Peebles on 3 August to see first-hand the ‘Older People Active Lives’ (OPAL) project in action.

The OPAL service for the Borders was launched last summer in partnership between charities Eildon Housing Association and Cyrenians.

Amanda Miller, Eildon’s Director of Community Services explained, “The rural nature of the Scottish Borders served to isolate our tenants even more during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tenants in our supported housing developments and in the surrounding areas were significantly impacted as support and social activities were restricted. This project is designed to help break this isolation and has turned out to be a lifeline for many of our tenants.”

Pauline Moffat from Cyrenians added, “We’re delighted to welcome Martin Whitfield, Scottish Labour, MSP for South Scotland to our OPAL Borders service. This is a great opportunity for Martin to see first-hand what we’re doing to support people age 60+ to build and maintain social connections.”

“OPAL delivers valuable services including social activity and learning groups, befriending, community support, events and digital skills. The service launched in August 2022 and has worked with more than 160 people age 60+, providing companionship and support to engage in community activities.”

Currently there are six popular activity groups running in the Borders and the aim is to connect more people with their neighbours through social activity and learning sessions. We are looking for more volunteers to enable us to do this and combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation being felt by older people across the Borders. If you are interested in helping out at OPAL please get in touch – or Julie Houghton