I was thinking about how tangled up things seem to be, these days. And how all the problems seem connected. Maybe the reason more people aren’t out there trying to change the world is that nobody knows which string to pull… without just making the knot worse.
But if you were going to start somewhere, you might do worse than focus on the elderly. Often ignored as they shuffle past us in the street, they are probably the most important folk in the city and county.
Why? Because they’re the ambassadors. The quality of a city – or a country – can be measured by how well it treats its older citizens. And, at the same time, anything we do for them tends to help everyone else. Improve signage for those living with dementia, and you make the city better for tourists, too. Provide more seats, and you’re benefiting the disabled, and the mum (or dad) who needs to stop to feed the baby.
Or you can think of it in terms of tackling loneliness. Thousands of older people live alone just in Norwich… and the same is true throughout our fine county.
The brilliant Silver Road Community Centre, in Norwich, has a Silver Moments coffee morning on Thursdays which has become hugely popular. And the welcome there spills over into activities throughout the week for kids and adults… crafts, yoga, sport, mums and toddlers groups. Google it to learn more.
Again, if we provide community for anyone, we make life better for everyone.
Of course, if you want to make the city better, you could equally start at the ‘other end’… thinking about the young, about education. And here two strands neatly overlap.
Age UK Norwich, a city charity I’m involved with, is putting increasing emphasis on intergenerational work, bringing children and older people together in safe, supportive environments. The local paper – the EDP has reported on the Life Stories work we’ve done – where children work with an older person to help them write down their memories. And groups of youngsters regularly visit our Marion Road Centre – which specialises in those living with dementia.
We make these connections because it’s fun for everyone… and because the older and younger generations learn a lot from each-other.
This year, we’re trying something new… asking schools, especially primary schools, to take part in a Bobble Hat Day on December 8. Wear your quirkiest hat to school on December 8… and donate £1 to the charity. We’re tying it in with a Key Stages 1 and 2 information pack to help teachers talk about the issues. About why older people are our ambassadors.
So if any school – or indeed, any business or other organisation – is interested in flaunting some funny hats for a good cause, give the charity’s fund-raising manager, Emma Roper, a call now on 01603 496323. Or email [email protected]
The money raised will help the charity’s extremely varied work, providing activities, social visits and lunch clubs, campaigning… and there’s an information and advice service for anyone over 50. Once again, what we do for the most elderly benefits many others.
If you want to find out what social activities are happening in and around Norwich visit our Calendar of Activities
Or if you’d like to find out more about what Age UK Norwich is doing to help older people in the city and how you can help, click here to visit their website