Happy Hatchlings at Weir Court, Comber

Bonding with Babies through Massage & Yoga

Unsurprisingly, one of our most popular intergenerational activities are the Happy Hatchlings infant massage and baby yoga sessions held in our sheltered scheme common rooms.

At several schemes, Claire, the Happy Hatchlings leader, has held six-week courses attended by mums, dads and babies. Alpha tenants join in, including singing and doing the actions for nursery rhymes, as well as waving props to visually stimulate the babies. Tenants also enjoy watching the infants bonding with their parents through massage, yoga and other activities. At the end of the sessions, parents, tenants and babies enjoy refreshments together, with braver babies even getting cuddles from Alpha residents!

Before Covid, Alpha and Happy Hatchlings had secured a Lottery grant to expand the number of classes throughout our schemes. As we emerge from the pandemic, we are excited about finally being able to make this a reality.

Nendrum students present flowers to Stepping Stones tenants

New Friendships with Nendrum College Students

Alpha tenants at our Stepping Stones sheltered housing scheme greatly enjoyed establishing new friendships with students at neighbouring Nendrum College through the engAGE project. Through the initiative, funded by the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership and delivered by Linking Generations NI, Nendrum students and Alpha tenants spent several weeks getting to know each other. This allowed time for meaningful relationships to develop.

Sessions held through engAGE included a games afternoon with community police officers, an African drumming class at Nendrum College, as well as an art class. Family history was another theme, allowing the students to learn some local history and discuss the tenants' life experiences.

Kathryn McKeag, a Year 10, pupil, said the engAGE experience enabled her to make 'new friends' and that she 'shouldn't be sacred to speak to a different generation of people.'

YMCA crop
Young people from Carrickfergus YMCA and Irish Gate tenants

Fun and Games with Carrickfergus YMCA

Over the years, a great relationship has developed between Alpha's One Irish Gate sheltered scheme and the Carrickfergus YMCA.

Our Scheme Co-ordinator has worked with the YMCA to organise a wide range of activities. These have been greatly enjoyed by the younger and older participants alike. Events have included a bake off, indoor sporting activities, and even a disco. One recent Christmas, tenants learnt sign language skills through the YMCA link and were able to perform the carol 'We Wish you a Merry Christmas' using their new skills.

As we emerge from the pandemic, Irish Gate tenants and Carrickfergus YMCA look forward to getting together again very soon for more fun and games.