MSP sees Eildon’s Older People Active Lives project in action

MSP sees Eildon's Older People Active Lives project in action

Martin Whitfield MSP wth Betty Wood

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

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, said: “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.”

MSP sees Eildon's Older People Active Lives project in action

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. More volunteers are being sought to enable the organisations to do this and combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation being felt by older people across the Borders. Anyone interested in helping out at OPAL can get in touch with or Julie Houghton at

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