Below, you can listen to Joe explain how Good morning Newtownabbey - funded by Spirit as part of our Fourteen programme - has become a daily lifeline and given him peace of mind.
Name: Joe Cohen
Lives: Newtownabbey, Belfast
"I’ve lived in Newtonabbey for around seventeen years, so a long time. It feels like a lifetime..."
"My involvement with the service actually came about around three years ago when I had a stomach virus. In the early hours of the morning I got up to visit the toilet and I suddenly had a blackout in the bathroom. I have no idea how long I was lying on that floor for but when I eventually came round and made it into bed, I realised: I’m on my own here. I don’t have any family in Belfast. I have a sister in England and a niece in Japan but no family here. I could have been lying there…well…I could have died there.
Shortly after that I mentioned this to the Citizens Advice Bureau. They put me in touch with Good Morning Newtonabbey. I spoke to Ann (surname) who manages things and she explained the project and I thought: that’s for me.
"What I appreciate more than anything, is that – god forbid – if I wasn’t able to answer that phone, they would know something was wrong and there is an action plan that they can immediately put into effect."
I’ve been receiving calls every morning ever since and I’ve got to know the callers very well. It’s very uplifting and we have some good banter! It’s great to get that call in the morning and know it’s coming. What I appreciate more than anything, is that – god forbid – if I wasn’t able to answer that phone, they would know something was wrong and there is an action plan that they can immediately put into effect. That is so reassuring to me. I have a cardiac condition as well so anything could happen! I’m 69 years old and it’s so reassuring to know that the call will come every morning, and this is the same story you’ll hear from all the users.
"It just gives me peace of mind. They do such sterling work, they really do."
As part of our Fourteen programme, Spirit funds Good Morning Newtownabbey - a project that supports the most vulnerable population within the community, especially during the winter period.
The service engages with people over 65 with limited mobility and illness, providing a better quality of life and making the everyday that bit easier. The service includes a pre-arranged daily telephone call and an alert service should the calls not be answered.