Meet Paul-A regular at Sonas Day Centre

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Meet Paul-A regular at Sonas Day Centre

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A born and raised Galwegian, Paul used to pass Sonas Day Centre on his trips into town from Mervue each morning, though he never knew much about the service. “If I hadn’t met someone I know outside the centre one day, I would have just walked by. I wouldn’t have known what it was,” Paul reflected. That chance meeting has led Paul to now becoming a frequent visitor to this local service. “It’s the companionship,” Paul says, explaining the attraction of the centre locally.

“It is just the banter and that. We have a bit of fun – a cup of tea, have the craic, a game of cards… otherwise I’d just be going around the town. There’d be nowhere to go if Sonas weren’t here.”

The easing of restrictions in 2021 led Paul to the Sonas community and reacquainted him with friends that he had known for thirty years. A keen local historian and avid music fan, Paul has plenty to talk about to keep those around him chatting. “I know the guys,” he says, “we just have the craic and the odd [card] game and that kills the day”. This sense of companionship was of particular importance during the Covid restrictions, where many living alone in the community might return home and not have an opportunity to speak to anyone for the rest of the day. During the summer, Sonas remained open but had to maintain strict restrictions.

Sitting outside, having good chats and, most importantly a good cup of tea, kept the spirit of community alive. Paul joked,

“that kettle, I don’t know how it survives. I’d say during the lockdown the kettle didn’t know what hit it!”

Paul and others who visit Sonas Day Centre can also avail of confidential, one-to-one meetings with the staff there, who encourage all to come in for a chat whenever they would like some support. This can range from help with form-filling, arranging help with shopping, prescription and pension collections, or support with anything that’s going on in their lives. Paul describes Sonas as being a friendly, cheerful place, “somewhere to go if you’re a bit lonely [where] you can talk to someone for the day, so when you go back home, you bring that positivity back with you.”

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