A few years ago there used to be a community centre in the Glebe Farm area of Birmingham – a place where people of all ages could go and join in with community activities, toddler clubs, ESOL classes, games etc. But then, like so many other public meeting places, thanks to council spending cuts, the centre was closed, leaving a big gap in the area for people who wanted to enjoy fellowship, shared activities and support each other.
Along came local activist and campaigner Paul Clayton, with a personal mission to bring life back into the community, fight council cuts and look for new ways of providing community facilities to help prevent social isolation and loneliness among older people. Paul said
“I was delighted when I heard about the Ageing Better fund and was grateful to receive much needed funding to start a new community group for the older residents of Glebe Farm
“With the help of my friend Christine, we decided that a group for the over 50s was just what the community needed and we set about trying to find a venue for the club to meet.”
After approaching several organisations and local venues to host the club, they were welcomed by mother of 7, Doris McLeod, also secretary of the Shilonite Gospel Church, an organisation who are now happy to provide the group with much needed and valuable meeting space and facilities.
Many other members of the group really value the fellowship that the Glebe Farm club offers, like Ted Gough, who served his country in West Africa, worked for many years at Dunlop, as well as studying Economics and having a keen interest in sport.
“It’s important to stay mentally active, as that keeps me young, and certainly coming to the club every week helps me to do that” said Ted.
Others aren’t afraid to lend a hand, and in many practical ways, not just with the running of the club, but looking after the local environment as well. This was clearly demonstrated by Bob who is regularly out in the local streets picking up rubbish…
“well provided it’s not raining TOO hard anyway”.
And then of course, there are the younger folk who help out at the club, perhaps with serving lunch – or even passing round tasty cupcakes! Sisters Tammy and Natalie, shown above with Muriel, a charming lady who was telling me about the wonderful kindness and understanding that she has experienced since she started coming to the group 2 years ago.
“we go on trips and there are always activities to join in with – I can’t find fault with anyone who comes here”.
It’s little wonder that people like Peter (pictured below) have found such a warm and friendly welcome. Peter joined in with this community after having to retire from his job as a truck driver due to ill health.
“without this Ageing Better group, I would have been stuck at home all day, now I have a friendly place to go, have lunch and meet with friends”
….What an amazing and welcoming group of people, all working together to help each other, the environment and THEIR community, a group that, perhaps, wouldn’t have existed without the invaluable help of the Ageing Better Birmingham Fund.
The Glebe Farm Community Trust group runs every Wednesday from 12 noon to 2:00 pm and is held at The Shilonite Gospel Church, 92 Audley Rd, Birmingham B33 9DY. For more details visit the Ageing Better in Birmingham website or get in touch with Paul Clayton on 07429 844099.
Article first published on the Ageing Better blog. Article written by Roger Bauckham – Nexgen Marketing 26/3/18