Bracken Bank and District Community Association hosts a weekly session for older people at the Belcher Community Centre, aimed at reducing isolation, strengthening their connection with each other and the community, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
The Good Life Coffee Stop brings around 15 people aged over 50 to late 80s together for activities including speakers on issues affecting older people such as making a will and taking care of their estates, and visits from the Council Wardens who cover the area and children from Worth Valley Primary School singing carols at Christmas.
Residents pay £2 per session for transport, breakfast and a quiz with prizes. Winter Warmth project funds have been used to offer a hot lunch, while group members also run fundraising raffles and bingo to meet their costs and arrange regular trips out of the area.
People work together on physical activities such as the local allotment project and activities organised by Age UK, along with linking with other older residents in neighbouring communities.
The Good Life Coffee Stop has been supported with area action plan funds from ward members, which covers transport costs to ensure older people who might otherwise struggle to access the group can continue to benefit.
The people attending the Coffee Stop benefit from regular contact with other older people and young volunteers and school children, reduced isolation, signposting to other services they might need such as adult services, as well as being able to stay in touch with other positive activities at the Centre and beyond.
The interactions and activities, combined with the formal advice and the contact with younger generations, promotes more resilience amongst the elderly people who use the Good Life Coffee Stop. They are less likely to suffer isolation and depression, and therefore are also likely to need less support from adult social care, their GPs and other health and wellbeing agencies.
To find out whether there’s a similar group near you, or to find out how to set up a new group in your neighbourhood, contact your local Area Co-ordinator’s Office: