The League

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The League

Dublin, Ireland
Project Stage:
Established
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The League is an association of older men's teams who play competitive pool within sheltered housing complexes throughout Dublin.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Most of the participants of The League live in very low economic areas and in many cases are socially isolated. This leads to a lower quality of life for those affected, not only from social exclusion, but also from an increased rate of serious illnesses and hospital admissions. We help alleviate these issues by not only assisting them in widening their respective social circles, but also by instilling a higher sense of self in them through their involvement with organising and competing in The League.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The League is unlike other programs for older people because beyond just providing a space and an activity, we have included elements into the programme that are meant to inspire the men to flourish. It is not our goal for the men to occupy one hour of their week, we want to provide the opportunity for the men to build friendships, become leaders, and feel passion for something again. The premise of a pool league is simple, but it has changed the lives of men who previously barely left their homes and had little human contact. This programme is innovative because we have identified a need in specific communities of people, found a common interest, provided support, but then offered the chance for the men to take ownership and build their pool community. The league offers: 1. Competition - The project motivates men to participate by simply appealing to their competitive side. The one factor that is attracting to older men is the element of competition. Healthy and friendly competition can engage the body, mind, and give purpose to daily activities. As these men have aged and surrounding family and friends dwindle, there are fewer opportunities to participate in stimulating social activities. Through our pilot of The League one hundred older men have reawakened their competitive nature and play competitive pool with other men’s groups throughout Dublin. Not only are they competing weekly, they practice daily and are meeting new friends in areas of Dublin they may never have been to before or haven't been to in years. There have even been a number of instances where new friends have been made and long lost friendships have been renewed. 2. Social Inclusion - Actively participating in the League has reduced their social isolation significantly. In addition, the men are considering and planning other activities for themselves and in neighbouring communities because of the success this model has had in breaking down their barriers to socialisation. 3. Empowerment - The pilot encouraged the participants to take a more active role in the organisation of The League itself, which led them to become involved in the planning stages of organising a league season and also founding a newsletter. The newsletter is circulated among all the participating communities in order to help generate awareness of activities in their areas.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The League has led to participants meeting with childhood friends, some of whom they hadn’t been in contact with from as far back as forty years previous. Though some of the members have health related issues or limited mobility that restricts their level of play, all of the members are accepted into The League and welcomed by their teammates. Even though there is a strong sense of competition between the groups, all are welcomed, encouraged and supported. Social exclusion is a dominant issue that affects the players, yet because of The League they now have daily practice to look forward to along with their weekly league matches. The participants are truly benefiting from the peer competition and camaraderie. As one family member shared, “The League has saved my father’s life”. The participants of various centres involved have also gone on to organise other activities in their respective communities following on from their involvement in and enjoyment of The League and to take a more active interest in their surroundings which has led to them founding their own newsletter.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Irish Men’s Sheds Association – This is a community based endeavour for men of all ages and as such does not focus on any one group in particular. Our model is aimed at the older people of our community living in low social economic areas, those most at risk from social exclusion, and through the element of competition we also endeavour to reinvigorate their sense of pride and self-worth.
About You
About You
First Name

Linda

Last Name

Desmond

Implementer(s) and cooperation partners
Name

Crosscare

Type

Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

Country where main implementer is located

, DB, Dublin

How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

In 2012, Care Local merged with Crosscare. Previously, Care Local had been an independent agency for 37 years. Care Local’s mission was to alleviate isolation and loneliness experienced by older people living alone in the Dublin City Council area. Care Local will continue to meet these objectives under the umbrella of Crosscare as Services for Older People. One of our primary aims is to enable older people to remain living at home, with comfort, security, dignity and companionship.

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Cooperation partner
Name

Dublin City Council

Type

Public body

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Dublin City Council provides access and introductions to Sheltered Housing Communities within the Dublin area. They have Liaison Officers based in all of those complexes, which allows for easier communication with the residents.

Cooperation partner
Name
Type

Please select

Website
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?
Cooperation partner
Name
Type

Please select

Website
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?
Cooperation partner
Name
Type

Please select

Website
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?
Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Health literacy and patient empowerment, Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering).

If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

Dublin City Council and various Government Agencies have defined the issues facing older people while President McAleese asked that all be committed to ensure that "no-one lives in the lonely margins". This inspired us to instigate our competitive model, which with the help of some funding from Dublin City Council and recommendations from their Liaison Officers, we introduced to those housing complexes most in need of assistance. Over time Dublin City Council has gradually stepped back and allowed the older people themselves to take a more active role in the organisation and running of The League and through their input, we have tailored The League to better suit their needs.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

Since October 2010, Care Local has supervised a Men’s Drop-In Centre in Drumalee, a sheltered housing complex in Stoneybatter. This is one of the most economically and socially disadvantaged areas of Dublin. Following on from this The League was formed in 2011 and due to its popularity among participants, has grown each subsequent year to its current size of twelve sheltered housing complexes and community centres. In the initial onset of The League there was more involvement from the Dublin City Council Sheltered Housing Staff and Community Centre Directors. As The League evolved and expanded, the older men themselves have taken ownership of the programme by organising the matches, planning the refreshments, coordinating the transportation and forwarding the results for a running tally to Care Local. They have also provided input in restructuring the rules and guidelines. The reports from participating Dublin City Council Liaison Officers and the Community Centre Directors is that every participant if fully involved, wants to continue and is enjoying the competition.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for 1‐5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

complementary (your solution is complementing existing solutions and compensating their weaknesses while not intending to substitute them)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

1. Lack of publicity – We have encouraged the participants to take an active role in making others aware of our initiative which has led to the founding of a newsletter written by the players in The League. We also advertise our initiative through other media such as our Facebook Page, Twitter Account and Website along with informing residents of non-participating communities both through their Dublin City Council Liaison Officer and through face-to-face meetings and other events in those communities

2. Lack of funding – Due to this initiatives success, the older men themselves feel invested in the programme and are supportive of seeing it continue to expand. This has led them to approach private sponsors in their local communities directly in order to obtain funding for transport and refreshments for the season.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees

1

Volunteers

2

Trainees

0

External advisers and experts

0

Others (please specify)

0

What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

The beauty of the programme is that the older men will have a chance to participate in all phases of the development of this initiative and utilize their skills of a life-time in the management, support and expansion of the League.
The Programme Director, who will provide leadership during the expansion of the programme, has had forty successful years both in the United States and in Ireland in designing, organizing and implementing award winning, high impact programmes.
The Programme Co-ordinator has five years experience in both the participation in and the organisation of pool leagues.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

Crosscare's Services for Older People have an extensive list of resources through its parent Crosscare. Crosscare is one of the largest charities in Ireland, has an employee base of 450. All HR, IT, and administrative support will be more than adequately addressed in the development of this initiative.

There will also be a committee set up among the older men participating in The League, which will have bi-annual meetings (or as required) in order to assist with the organisation, promotion and running of The League.

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.

5000

National public funding

0%

European Union public funding

0%

Economic return from own products/services

0%

Foundations and philanthropy capital

100%

Single donations from private individuals

0%

Donations from private companies

0%

Crowdfunding platforms

0%

Participation fees

0%

Other (please specify)

0%

Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

Older men living in County Dublin, particularly those from economically poor areas and those at risk from social isolation. We would like to implement this programme on a National level to help those in similar situations throughout the country. Doing this would also be of benefit to the existing participants as not only would they still have their Dublin based League, but with the establishment of leagues in other counties, inter-county matches could be arranged which would help widen their social circles and also allow them to visit parts of the country they may have never been to before.

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.

100

In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

It is currently spread throughout County Dublin, with plans to expand it to other areas of the country.

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

The League aims to assist our users in widening their respective social circles, empowering them to take a more active role in their communities and instilling a higher sense of self in them through their involvement with organising and competing in The League.

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

The League aims to enhance social cohesion and integration and to mitigate against the social exclusion and isolation of older people in our communities. One of the primary aims of The League is to enable older people to remain living at home, with comfort, security, dignity and companionship. Through friendly competition, it also brings some happiness and enjoyment back into their lives.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

To date we have seen participants of The League become less socially excluded, not only within their own community but also progressing to the stage where they are welcomed in the other communities. They have also shown more self-confidence in meeting new people and interacting positively with them. We have also seen a marked increase in their involvement both in their own community activities and in the organisation of The League.

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Experience-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on your experiences with the target group), Feedback-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on feedback from the target group without using specific methods), Self-evaluation (you used qualitative and/or quantitative methods to assess impacts).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Organisational structure, Activity report, Working method and 'theory of change'.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

1. Expand this initiative to cater for all sheltered housing units in the Dublin Area.
2.Expand The League to a National level by introducing our model to all counties of Ireland.
3.Introduce The League European wide. Former exclusion of the men would be mitigated by having the opportunity to travel and experience new culture.

With 20 communities taking part, this initiative will impact 150 older people directly, and an indeterminable number of older people indirectly. With National coverage, we would anticipate this programme benefiting potentially 2000 older men in the first year