Latest News

Social Walking Programme Launch

We are delighted to launch the Making Connections Social Walking Programme thanks to the support of dlr County Council and Healthy Ireland.

The programme offers people age 65+ an outlet for weekly physical activity and social engagement – supporting the physical and mental health of participants.

“Without it I’d be at home staring at the four walls. The support of the group gets me out, I always feel better after and I’m making new friends.” Bernadette, 89

Launch of Virtual Reality Headsets

Making Connections staff attended the launch of Virtual Reality headsets at the dlr County Council.

We were fascinated with a demonstration of the  Virtual Reality headsets which are now available to the public.

The Virtual Reality headsets have many features including virtual travel underwater and to different countries! Many older people miss being able to go on adventures, and travel the world. This amazing technology allows people to enjoy new experiences in an accessible way.

To find out more or drop into a demo session, contact dlr Lexicon Library, Email: | Phone: 01-2801147

Shortlisted – National HSE Excellence Awards 2023

Making Connections Walk & Talk Programme, in partnership with HSE was shortlisted in the National HSE Excellence Awards 2023. The initiative was commended under the category ‘Improving Patience Experience.’

“Yesterday for the first time in a long time, I walked up to Super Valu. It’s been over a year since I went out before – since my husband died.” Dee, 86

“As you get older, all the people are dropping off one by one. It’s hard to make new friends. It’s great to meet new people, share experiences, and if you’re lucky, you make a new friend.”
Seamus, 91

RADIO INTERVIEW: Volunteer Sarah – on Reasons to Volunteer & the Give Wonderfully Campaign

Making Connections Volunteer, Sarah, speaks to Dublin South FM about the mutual benefit of volunteering, and how you can get involved in different ways. She also highlights the Give Wonderfully Campaign and how you can support the campaign by making a donation online today. Click the play button below to listen to the interview.

Give Wonderfully Christmas Campaign Video

Making Connections are proud to be the charity partner for the Give Wonderfully Campaign at Dundrum Town Centre. We invite you to take action – to help us alleviate loneliness and isolation for older people in our community. We are sharing the message that “ageing is inevitable… but loneliness doesn’t have to be.” Check out our video below and click here to donate:


VIDEO: Walk & Talk Featured on RTÉ 1, Nationwide

We were delighted to have the Walk & Talk programme featured on RTÉ 1’s Nationwide in October 2023. You are invited to watch the Nationwide excerpt to learn more about this innovative clinical-community collaboration… and most importantly, the positive impacts it has for people in our community.


dlr Age Well Expo 2023

Making Connections was delighted to attend the dlr Age Well Expo on Sunday 11th June at The Pavillion, Leopardstown Racecourse. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk to members of the public, to hear about their needs, to meet the team at TILDA and spend time with some of our collaborators from HSE Healthy Ireland, and the Community Policing Team. A big thanks to our volunteers who supported the event.

Photo: Cathaoirleach, Councillor Mary Hanafin alongside Making Connections staff and volunteers


Volunteer Stories

Making Connections Frontline Volunteers sharing their experiences. Watch this video for feel good stories and inspiration about the positive impact of social connection and volunteerism. 

“My life has been so enriched by knowing her, because she has, when you have lived 92 years you have an awful lot of life experience behind you and have met so many wonderful and interesting people and she is just fascinating.”

Watch the Walk & Talk Video

Making Connections, in partnership with the HSE Senior Physiotherapist, Dearbhaile Oratis and Claire Nicholl, Senior Occupational Therapist identified a need for a local walking group. They sought support from the HSE Community Healthcare East Health and Wellbeing team and collectively devised and delivered a pilot ‘Walk and Talk’ programme. According to Mary O’Donoghue, Executive Director, Making Connections, they realised there was a need for such a walking group when they saw how many people had

“fallen away from their routines as a result of all the lockdowns.  We saw that some people had lost their confidence for walking alone – there was a certain fear.  So the idea of meeting for a regular walk was very attractive and very motivating for people.”

Having consulted with HSE Senior Physiotherapist,  Dearbhaile Oratis, this collaboration ultimately led to the establishment of the group to empower older adults to stay healthy, and socially connected and to help alleviate loneliness and isolation.

According to Claire Nicholl, Senior Occupational Therapist who worked on the programme:

“For us professionally and personally, it’s been a great group to run – there’s been great enthusiasm about it.  They’re walking and then we come back for a cup of tea or coffee.  So they are increasing their physical activity, they are socialising.  I know a lot of the participants have said it’s the highlight of their week.”

Outlining how she designed the programme, Dearbhaile Oratis, Senior Physiotherapist said she had wanted to “evaluate if we could actually improve muscle strength as well as improving people’s physical activity levels.  I carried out two standardised outcome measures which were leg strength, and handgrip strength.  Each participant was assessed on week one and the same test was repeated again on week six. I was very pleased that on reassessments, over 90% of the clients had demonstrated an improvement in the muscle strength in their legs and their handgrip.”

There were associated benefits too as Claire explains: “We’re also able to manage issues that arise in a timely manner.  For example, one lady advised that her home care package didn’t provide for enough care hours so I was able to link back with the Public Health Nurse and we organised for extra care hours.  So it’s been really good in that regard.

Feedback from participants

“It was brilliant being able to come out and meet everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s something to look forward to every Wednesday”

Anne Leonard, a participant in the first Walk and Talk Programme in Churchtown, Dublin last year.

For the participants, there has been universal praise and pleasure.  According to participant Rhona Sloane: “I am alone for a long time during the day – it’s nice to meet people and they’re lovely.  I feel better with talking to someone.”

For William Barton, walking usually means going out alone but the group he notes “ has the added advantage of enabling me to talk to people as I’m going around as well.”  Confidence building is a universal theme and for Irene Kelly, it gave her back some of the confidence she had lost: “I did six weeks in the programme – I found it very beneficial.  It gave me great confidence.”

Illustrating the success of the programme, Claire notes how “some of the clients from that first group in September still meet up on a Wednesday and go for a walk and come back for a coffee and that’s great to see.”

Expanding the programme

Shane Lee, Health Promotion Officer, HSE Health and Wellbeing outlines how they are now looking at expanding the programme and the experience:  “The Walk and Talk programme supports the delivery of Community Health Care East’s Healthy Ireland Implementation Plan, particularly in relation to two key areas of policy – Healthy Eating Active Living and Positive Ageing.  We can also see that the programme is very scalable.  Two pilot programmes have been delivered in Churchtown to date and the plan to deliver more programmes in the area is underway and we hope to develop the programme across other community healthcare networks.”

Watch short video on how Walk and Talk group restores confidence and builds strength –

Excerpt above from HSE Website Accessed 30/01/2023.


The Ireland Funds – Supporting Post Pandemic Wellbeing Initiatives

The Ireland Funds, Heart of the Community Fund 2022 has helped us to develop new initiatives to support the post-pandemic recovery of older people in the community.

One of our main goals has been to help people to get out, to get walking, and to connect with other people in the community. Together we are alleviating isolation and loneliness, and improving the wellbeing of vulnerable people in our community.

Investing in development is critical to ensure that our programmes are sustainable and scalable into the future. We are grateful to the Ireland Funds for their support.