THE CHALLENGE In Ireland today the numbers of older people are growing – the number of people aged between 60 and 85 + grew from 590,000 in 2002 to 650,000 in 2006, an increase of 60,000 or just over 10%. There are also estimated to be between 150,000 and 200,000 people in Ireland who have restricted mobility. Of these some 2,500 to 5,000 are confined to bed while a further 16,000 to 26,000 are wheelchair users. Society today is less likely to care for older and housebound people and impaired mobility can often mean loneliness for older and housebound people, particularly in rural areas. For many older and housebound people the telephone, either landline or mobile, is their main or only connection with the outside world but, despite government assistance with their phone bills, many older and housebound people can find it difficult to meet ongoing telephone bills and as they can be afraid of incurring bills they cannot meet, many are very careful in the extent to which they use their phones. THE RESPONSE The "In The Loop" project is hoping to provide individual older or housebound people with access to a mobile CB radio which, once the cost of installation is paid, is totally free to use. CB radios can offer high quality sound transmission within a radius of up to 10 kilometres. The radios are not dependent on electricity so even in power cuts users can have ongoing communication with the outside world. A special feature of In The Loop is the establishment of a cluster of older or housebound people who share a dedicated radio frequency which allows them to create their own connected community. This cluster should ideally be facilitated and supported by a voluntary or community group whose members can use the radio to make regular contacts with members of the cluster and who can hold regular on-line “chat shows” for members of the cluster so increasing their level of contact with others and reducing social isolation. THE CURRENT STATUS Alan James from Circle Of White Light Radio and Steve George from Open Your Mind Radio and Twos Company Radio are currently doing a feasibility study to make sure that the proposed radio equipment will be powerful and adequate enough to cover the range required for the selected village. Once this study is carried out, Circle Of White Light Radio will initially fund the project. If the project is successful, we will then promote it via the media and approach the Government for funding to be able to offer radio to all elderly people in the village. UPDATE 06/06/2020 Myself and Steve did some testing today to see how good the radio signals are from one side of the village to the other. We were impressed with the coverage of the test radios, but for elderly people who live on the outskirts of the village, we might need to install an external antenna to boost their signal. What we might do is select three people closer to the center of the village, which would work for the trial. So we need to speak to the active age group to see who we can use for the trail, one modersator and two users. Once we have this sorted, we will then purchase the radios and the accessories. UPDATE 17/06/2020 We contacted Pat (who is a senoir in the village and is part of the active age group) and asked him to put the word around to the senoirs in the village to see if they would like to be involved in the radio trial. So, we will touch base with Pat in a couple of weeks time to see how many would like to be included.