Big thank you from

Jenny Munro talks to Isabel Flood

Isabel FloodISABEL Flood, 53, co-ordinates the Good Morning Colin Project - a free support, information and alert telephone service for elderly and vulnerable residents living in the Colin Area, established in 2002. The management of the project was taken over by the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership earlier this year.

Isabel is originally from the west Belfast area but now lives in Lisburn with her husband John and has three children and five grandchildren. Isabel has worked in the Colin community sector for the last 10 years and worked for the Colin Community Forum for eight years.

I wake up each morning at 6.30am, have breakfast with my husband who leaves at 7.30am and then I tidy up and get ready I am normally in the office, which is based in the Poleglass area, for 9am. The first thing I do is check the answer machine and my email and get the office ready for the volunteers who normally arrive at 9.30am.

Good Morning Colin is a free telephone support line for elderly and vulnerable people living in the Colin area. Clients receive a call every morning and evening to check on their well-being and we offer support and advice on a variety of issues. Senior citizens or other individuals who have expressed feelings of fear, victimisation or vulnerability receive a telephone call at a pre arranged time each day by me or one of our volunteers. The purpose of these calls is to check on the well being and health of the client, to provide information on services in the area and upcoming events, and to listen to any concerns expressed by clients and pass these on to relevant agencies/individuals. The phone calls also give us a chance to have a chat with our clients as we often find they can feel lonely and in need of someone to talk to. With our growing client database of around 80 people, it is important that we get more volunteers onboard. The service that we provide for the community would not be possible without them and they are making a positive difference to the lives of the elderly and vulnerable people in our community.

If I am not making calls I will do paperwork and check to see if any problems have been reported. I am often out at public events promoting the project and I do visit a lot of clubs and societies spreading the message of what the project is about. I am involved in steering groups for the over fifties and I work closely with the Lisburn Community Safety Partnership, which runs the 'Lisburn Secured' scheme that installs target hardening security equipment to the homes of vulnerable people. We are gradually working through all of our clients to ensure that they benefit from the Lisburn secured scheme. As our project aim is to reduce the expressed feelings of fear, vulnerability and isolation felt by the elderly and other vulnerable residents living in the Colin Area. this scheme fits in nicely with what we are trying to do. Once a home survey is carried out equipment such as five lever door locks. mortice deadbolts. door viewers, chains and window locks are provided and fitted free of charge. Other equipment can also be provided according to circumstances of our clients.

I regularly have meetings with the project's funders and my manager and I have to present progress reports and discuss how the scheme is doing. I will also train up volunteers, carry out character checks and organise a confidentiality agreement.

Working with the community means I have no real set hours - if something needs to be done I will stay on in the evening. When I do get home I will sit down for a cup of tea and then start the dinner. My daughter might pop in with her children. I love seeing my grandchildren. Later on I'll tidy the house and settle for an hour of TV before bed. I love my community work as it is great to give something back to the community and it is great to be able to help make a difference.

Ulster Star