Category Archives: Stan Ball Centre

Stan Ball Friendship Circle goes from strength to strength

Stan Ball Centre Main Building

The Stan Ball Friendship Circle has gained 25 members in its first three weeks, and is going from strength to strength – but organisers are keen to invite more new members to come along and join in the fun or even become members from home if housebound.

The group, based at the Stan Ball Centre in Abbotts Street, Bloxwich, is aimed at anyone aged fifty plus who would like to make new friends.

A home visiting service will also soon be developed for people who cannot leave their house, and applications for Friendship Circle home memberships are now being taken.

Deb Brownlee, Young at Heart Project Co-ordinator, said:

“The target for members in the National Lottery bid which funds my role is sixty members, and the first members are working hard to help me recruit new members to the group. We’re aiming to exceed that number if we can. We’re developing the Circle week by week and fantastic new friendships have been formed already.

“Retention is high – every single person who has joined has come back for another visit and that’s what we really want to see, an enduring and welcoming friendship group that will always be there for people when they need it, and above all where they feel perfectly comfortable just dropping in and out on the Friendship Circle days to suit themselves.”

The phenomenal range of low-cost and sometimes free Friendship Circle activities just this past week week included ballroom and latin dance with tuition on Monday, bingo and lunch as well as the Computer Beginners Class on Tuesday, breakfast, coffee and a Tai Chi taster plus separate poetry readings and a creative writing workshop by Jae Linsey on Wednesday!

Deb Brownlee commented:

“Jae has read some of his material to us informally and we enjoyed it so much we have asked him to come along for a proper dedicated session. A number of Friendship Circle members have also already brought along written work to read out or have read out by others. The creativity within the group is incredible.”

On Thursday lunch and bingo was also available, as was the Computer Self Help Group which meets in the IT room and new members are very welcome to either work on the centre computers or bring along their own laptops. This is a self help group not a taught session. Members share knowledge and tips, the cost is £1.50 including internet access and refreshments are available.

Friday saw a hosted breakfast and lunch, with afternoon entertainment and discussion to follow.

NEXT EVENT SCHEDULED: On Wednesday 27th June from 1pm-3pm, local singer Hayley Cooper will be coming along to entertain everyone with a singalong taking the audience back to the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
Everyone is welcome and the cost is £2 per person payable on the door.

For details of Friendship Circle members, costs where applicable and all activities and future events at the Stan Ball Centre, telephone 01922 403351 or 01922 403351 asking  for Karen Smith or Deb Brownlee, email or call in to the centre any time Monday to Friday.

New Stan Ball widow and widowers group receives dancing demo

Stan Ball Centre Main Building

Widows and widowers attending the first meeting of the Stan Ball Centre 50 plus Widow and Widowers group on Monday 11th June were treated to a demonstration of ballroom and latin dancing during the afternoon. 

Well known dancers Sylvia and David Webster gave a short talk about ballroom and latin dancing followed by a demonstration of their dancing skills. They then taught participants a simple dance.

Deb Brownlee Young at Heart project co-ordinator said:

“We are very privileged to also have Sylvia and David Webster as tutors here at the Stan Ball Centre, and we have already received some interest from within the Stan Ball Friendship Circle, of which the Widow and Widowers group is a part, to run some social dances. With just a few lessons anyone can learn a few basic dances and join in and enjoy a dance evening far more than if they have to sit out.”

The Widow and Widowers Group day is on second Mondays of the month, and begins with a hosted breakfast meeting at 9am, followed by a hosted coffee morning and bring and buy at 10am, hosted lunch at midday and the hosted afternoon entertainment which costs £2 and runs from 1-3pm.
Potential members can come along any time during the day and join in. Experienced volunteers will be on hand for anyone who would like a private chat and all the activities are hosted, which means that no-one sits alone. Access to professional bereavement counselling can also be obtained through the group. This is useful for people who have hidden their true feelings for fear of upsetting other family members.

Deb Brownlee continued:
“The Stan Ball Centre Widow and Widowers group is strictly for people aged fifty plus who have suffered the bereavement of a partner. We aim for people to be able to help each other by sharing their feelings and experiences, but at the same time help them to have fun, make new friends and enhance their lives. The bereavement does not have to be recent and it does not matter if they now have a new partner – the new partner can come along provided they are also a widow or widower”.

Enquiries to 01922 403351, email or via facebook. A full schedule of Friendship Circle activities is available on request.

Computer self help group starts at Stan Ball Centre

Stan Ball Centre Main Building

A new computer self help group aimed at the fifty plus age group started on Thursday 7th June at the Stan Ball Centre in Bloxwich.

The group forms part of the Stan Ball Centre Young at Heart Project 50 + Friendship Circle which started on the 23rd May and offers a variety of friendship opportunities throughout the week, such as breakfast meetings, hosted lunches, dancing lessons and Tai Chi.

Deb Brownlee, Young at Heart Project Co-ordinator said:

“The idea of the self help computer club is that everyone knows just a little bit, in fact usually more than they think they do, and by pooling knowledge we will all learn something new or solve problems small or large. We hope the group will also become very social, as that is the aim of all the activities within the Friendship Circle. And if we do get stuck with a question, we’ll find out for the next time”.

The group will run weekly from 5pm to 7pm, and will cover any computer related issue such as computer security, emails, facebook, ebay, and a wide variety of software. There is an entrance fee of £1.50 and participants are welcome to bring their own laptops. Refreshments will be available.

Computer lessons for complete beginners are also available at the centre, along with digital photography and computer maintenance.   

More information can be obtained by calling into the Stan Ball Centre in Abbotts Street, Bloxwich, by emailing or telephoning Karen Smith or Deb Brownlee on 01922 403351.

Stan Ball Centre Friendship Circle Update


Stan Ball Centre Main Building

The launch of the Stan Ball Centre Young at Heart Project 50+  Friendship Group on 16th May was a great success with 40 people attending at the Centre in Abbotts Street, Bloxwich to learn how the group will work.

The Friendship Circle programme has now commenced and includes hosted breakfasts, morning coffee, lunch and afternoon entertainment on Wednesdays and Fridays with potential members welcome to come along anytime to suit from 9am onwards. The entertainment programme on these days will include activities, speakers, entertainers, ballroom dancing lessons, Tai Chi, interesting debates and once a month linking with the Local Community 50+ Forum.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays members can come along from 11am to 2pm and enjoy a cooked meal, seated exercise, entertainment or activity and bingo. On Thursdays there is also a 50+  computer self help group and a monthly Chips ‘n Chat.

Deb Brownlee, Young at Heart Project Co-ordinator, said:

“The Friendship Circle is aimed at anyone aged 50 plus who would like to expand their circle of friends. Potential members can come along alone, with other friends, or as a couple. As the meetings are hosted plenty of introductions will be made, and we hope many new friendships will be formed through these meetings.”

The second Monday of the month will be devoted to 50+ Widows and Widowers, commencing on Monday 11th June, with a choice of activities starting with breakfast at 9am, morning coffee at 10am, lunch at 12pm and hosted afternoon entertainment from 1pm until 3pm.

Deb continued:

“The bereavement does not have to have been recent, and it does not matter if there is now a new partner – although the partner can only come to the meetings if they are also a widow  or widower. There is the opportunity for one to one chats, as well as a lively social programme. We will also be linking with various bereavement services which can prove invaluable when the bereaved person does not want to talk about their real feelings to family and friends, for fear of upsetting or alienating them.”

The Friendship Circle also offers home visits and telephone calls to the housebound and applications for this service can now be taken, and volunteers are also asked to come forward. The housebound will also be offered the option of the free loan of a computer and private lessons, in order to learn how to connect with family and friends through social media, email and the Skype video telephone service.

Deb Brownlee “We would also like to hear from people who would like a social evening for 50+ dating. We’ve had quite a few expressions of interest about this section of the Friendship Circle, and if we can get enough names together we’ll try an evening. It would be hosted so there would be plenty of introductions made. We would have to try to ensure roughly even numbers of women and men so we urge both sexes to get in touch with us and get their name put on the expressions of interest list.”

Full information about the Friendship Circle is available by telephoning the Stan Ball Centre on 01922 403351, by emailing or by calling in to the centre. The schedule contains details of Friendship Circle charges which range from £1.50 to £5.

The project is funded by the National Lottery Big Lottery fund.


Titanic event floated at Stan Ball Centre this Friday

Ian Edwards paints the Titanic

The Stan Ball Centre will be commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic with a special exhibition day which will be open to the public, families and any groups who might like to come along.

The event takes place at the centre in Abbotts Street, Bloxwich on Friday 13th April from 10am until 4pm.

Local artists Christine Bunn, Ian Edwards, Ann Hackett and Jason and Brenda Jenkins who all exhibit and sell  their work at The Stan Ball Centre are preparing special pieces of Titanic related work, as are the centre’s sugarcraft and art students. Sugarcraft tutor Sandra Hall has produced a Titanic cake which will be raffled on the day to raise funds for the centre. 

Walsall based artist Ian Edwards, who inspired the idea for the day, will be showing some vintage cinema 1911 reel film of Titanic from his private collection in a meeting room at the centre which will be converted into an old style cinema for the day.

Ian Edwards has also painted a special Titanic picture (see above)  which will also be raffled on the day to raise funds for the centre.

Artist Jackie Plimmer has produced numerous mini Titanic signed paintings as souvenirs which will be available for sale.

Deb Brownlee, Young at Heart Project Co-ordinator said:

“The event gets better by the day as people come forward but we are still able to make space for anyone else who would like to bring any Titanic memorabilia, souvenirs, pictures, models or photographs.

“It would be great if they could also come and stand with their items and tell people the story behind them. Everything that comes into the centre will be returned on the same day.” 

Admission to the event is free, open to all ages and the Stan Ball Centre Cafe will be serving Titanic themed lunches and cakes.  

Anyone interested in trying their hand at painting their own Titanic can join in with a free art session between 1pm and 3pm.

For further information ring Karen Smith at the centre on 01922 403351.