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History of The Woodford Hill Seniors

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History of The Woodford Hill Seniors

The Woodford Hill Seniors group was founded by Sister Maria, a Catholic Nun stationed at Palm Tree in the Woodford Hill area and attached to the parish of Our Lady of La Soie in Wesley. She, together with former district doctor, Dr. Massilo, decided to gather the seniors of the community in an effort to get them to leave their homes and have some social gathering. Many of the founding members have passed, some are homebound but there are still some active ones. Sister Maria has returned to Belgium. Mrs. Agatine Oselle was one such member. She was the first treasurer of the group.

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Their theme song was composed by a member of the village youth group. There were many sponsors; the family of Sister Maria, local business places in the community. The Care of the Elderly in Portsmouth and REACH were regular donors of food items and clothes. J. Astaphan & Company Ltd donated a Core House to the group which was built on land belonging to the Catholic Church at a leased price of $10.00 yearly. Later, a project was written to the Government DSF Program where a kitchen was built adjoining the care house. Unfortunately, Hurricane Maria destroyed that building and they lost everything. Assistance is still needed to rebuild their house. Before they were blessed with a kitchen, each member would bring along whatever was needed for cooking, and they would cook on a coal pot. Meals were taken to the elderly and homebound in the community. The group had a garden where they grew plantain, tannia and sweet potato. The garden was on the church land near the meeting hall

The first meeting was held at the Woodford Hill Health Centre. Later the meetings were moved to the Catholic Church Hall. At every meeting was a prayer session. Sometimes games were played such as musical Chairs etc. Dominoes were also a favorite of the seniors. Birthdays of each member were recognized; and they made visits to the sick. Every season was observed with different activities. The group gathered at carnival time, sometimes snacks were made for sale. Easter usually had outings or a beach party. Much fundraising activities took place during the years. There were concerts, social evenings and sales. These funds, together with weekly subscriptions of members were used for assisting in transportation on outings, birthday parties, and for the weekly soup kitchen. They then met at the home of one of their members

The Woodford Hill Seniors were always a part of the Dominica Council on Ageing from its formative years. Sister Maria and Ms. Agatine represented their group and later Mrs. Veronica Alexander. They were a part of the group who participated in the Age Demands Action where representative presented and explained issues affecting their age group

Other activities included:  Participation in Caribbean Wellness day in the district.  Attended La Salette feast in Pointe Michel  Mother’s Day Gathering

Recognition of fathers on Father’s Day  Visit to other groups on islands  Dominica competition with the Wesley and Calibishe Group  Attending workshops organized by DCOA as well as Environmental Health  Observance of Month of the ElderlyCook ups on Creole Day  Christmas Party yearly and attending DCOA ‘Sharing a Christmas Moment’

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the group drastically; all activities have come to a halt