Hi fellow Priders!
I'm so happy today. Our Big Lottery funded (Awards for All) project has got underway and is going so well, I can scarcely believe it. We started over a year ago, building on social contacts my OH had made (running bingo and skittles), by smartening up the exterior doors of the two tower blocks that make up our Sheltered Housing estate and running our Garden Development project with funding from the POC fund, CIF, and Community Chest. Then I put in a funding bid for £10k for a project that would involve more residents in healthy, meaningful, social activities and bring them new skills and zest for life. It was successful, and the project launch party will take place on 4th August, by which time we'll be able to report some significant successes. Our programme comprises the following elements:
1. A year of regular activities: IT Club, tai chi, Friday night curry/pie & mash and games (the food cooked by a tenant who has volunteered to take the lead - yes!), and an emotional wellbeing group called 'Positive Minds' run by a local CIC called Spring to Life;
2. Monthly one-off events - cookery, arts and crafts, pamper sessions - till next May;
3. Monthly trips to green spaces near Birmingham with a stop at a cheap shopping spot on the way home;
4. A 3-day trip next May to our inspirational friends in Incredible Edible Todmorden for gardening club members and supporters.
The IT Club kicked off yesterday. It's led by two people who deliver the Silver Surfers (sic!) programme, experts in encouraging and guiding older people new to the Internet. They were surprised at how many who attended had some previous experience, but they are tailoring the course to the individual's needs and interests. 9 male tenants came along. I'm delighted it's something for the men, who are under-represented at most of the social events. Friendships will, I trust, spring up. They are already talking about getting together to do DIY jobs around the place (for each other and other neighbours on low incomes). Fantastic stuff.
We had our first Curry Night last Friday. People have been coming up to me since and saying they wished they'd been there and won't miss the August one. Chef (a single male in my block) posted a proper menu through my letterbox today. 'John's Bistro' with a proper menu: can't be bad!
Next Monday we're off to the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas (with a stop for shopping on the way back, of course). Can't wait! 15 of us going out for the day together!
I can't remember when I had such an enjoyable social life.
Needless to say, I rang our funder yesterday to burble about it all with extreme enthusiasm. And to say thank you to the Big Lottery Fund for making all this possible.
I've attached a couple of nice photos....
Big hugs to all of you
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