Kindly funded by, and working in partnership with, The Reading Agency and supported by West Sussex County Council Library Service, Age UK Horsham District is taking part in a yearlong programme called Reading Friends.
This programme will connect many older people together through a shared enjoyment of literature and reading in all its varied forms. Mandy Jones, Age UK Horsham District’s Project Manager, commented: “Reading Friends is a wonderful opportunity to gather people together to share their love of literature, from sharing a favourite poem to reminiscing about favourite stories we have enjoyed. It is hoped that the group will become a place to develop new friendships”. Reading Friends will run every Friday at Age UK Horsham District’s Lavinia House Club between 1.30pm and 2.30 pm.
Two groups of young adults, participating in local National Citizen Service schemes, began visiting older people at Lavinia House on Monday 14 August and will continue to visit until Friday 25 August. The groups spend time talking to and entertaining the older people who visit the Lavinia House Club, as well as helping to keep the Club’s award winning garden up to scratch.
Back by popular demand, on Saturday 30 September, is the successful 1940’s/50’s style Dance ‘Strictly Vintage’, returning to the Drill Hall. This event will be a twist on previous events, taking place as an evening dance, starting at 7pm with welcome drink and nibbles. Dance tunes will be provided by The Royal British Legion Dance Band, as before, and there will be entertainment during the interval. With thanks to local brewery and funder, Dark Star, for their continued support of this event.
On Monday 2 October, to celebrate the UN International Day of Older Persons, the charity team are organising a ‘Full of Life’ event. This is a FREE health and well-being event, with FREE lunch, for older people living in Horsham District, based around the five ways to well-being; Give, Be Active, Keep Learning, Connect and Take Notice.
Older people will have the chance to try something new, from learning to use the internet and tasting healthy foods, to finding out how they’re doing by taking a well-being MOT. The team “would love older people to come along spend a morning, afternoon, or all day trying something different or rekindling an old passion”.
Next year is set to sparkle, as the current charity team, representing a charity that has been working locally and making a difference to the lives of thousands of older people for 60 years, celebrate their 60th (diamond) anniversary. Planning for this is ongoing and will be announced later this year.
Sonia Mangan, Chief Officer for Age UK Horsham District, said: “I am particularly proud to be Chief Officer at Age UK Horsham District at the moment. The team have been working incredibly hard to secure funding to make these various events and activities happen for local older people. They are so committed to everything that we do! This is a really exciting time for the charity as we embark on some new and some repeat ventures.
“I encourage all older residents to join us on 2nd October for our Full of Life event – it is set to be a fun-filled day. I’m looking forward to celebrating all that this incredible charity has achieved over the last 60 years, during our diamond anniversary year next year. We have set a target, which we really want the communities (with whom we work with and for) to get behind – we want to raise £60,000 for our 60 years!”
For more information about Age UK Horsham District, or details about how you can get involved with any of these events/activities, please call: 01403 260560 or pop in to Age UK Horsham District’s Lavinia House premises, which are in Dukes Square, Horsham – just behind the Drill Hall.
Age UK Horsham District has seen a 40% increase in client work over the last year or so. In order to keep up with this increase in demand, it is essential that the team continually search for and source funding opportunities, such as those already mentioned. Sadly, their recent bid to the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities fund (for up to £330,000 over the next three years) was unsuccessful, making the support secured from the local community and other smaller funders more important than ever.
Funds raised through Strictly Vintage, and during the charity’s 60th anniversary year, will go towards funding the variety of essential, and mainly free, services the team of staff and volunteers at Age UK Horsham District offer, that support older people in the local area. With the aim of tackling loneliness and social isolation, improving access to services and financial support and generally helping older to love later life.
An example of one of these services is the charity’s Information and Advice service, a one-stop-shop that provides help with understanding allowances and benefits and/or help with completing claim forms. Local residents, Mr and Mrs B, were supported through this service. They were struggling on their basic pensions, making difficult decisions, such as whether to put their heating on or buy food. Age UK Horsham District provided Information and Advice to help the couple claim benefits they were entitled to, which changed their life for the better. This service relies on fundraising and donations to continue.
If you would like to show your support, Age UK Horsham District would welcome raffle prizes and donations towards these, their future events and charitable services and urges you to “please do get in touch to discuss.” Further details about their events and activities can be found on their website: www.ageukhorshamdistrict.org.