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.
“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 email@example.com 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.