Young at Heart Club
Who’d have thought that, when I was asked if I would like to visit a charity event for people ranging in age from 80 to 100, I would end up shooting for baskets in a basketball competition!
Young at Heart certainly sums up the spirit of the club! The people attending deﬁnitely have a youthful outlook and don’t let their age hold them back.
From the moment I walked into the venue I was wowed by how welcoming it looked. Not at all like a village hall, more like a hotel. The tables were laid for lunch with place mats, cutlery, ﬂowers, napkins arranged in glass with a twirl, and all in a smart matching dark blue.
What also struck me was the level of chatter as groups of people huddled around tables completing jigsaws and playing various card and board games. It inspired me to look in our games box when I arrived home. That evening my partner and I played Othello instead of watching telly – it was stimulating and, I have to say, competitive! For the sake of domestic bliss we agreed to stop when the games were drawn.
The organisers of the Young at Heart Club, Lloyd and Diana, made sure that the session ran like clockwork. Once people had come to a natural conclusion with their activities the more physical group activities began. There were seated relay races with various objects being passed down lines of two teams, followed by the basketball. Points were meticulously recorded for a prize giving, which will take place at the Christmas party.
Young at Heart runs three sessions a week at two locations in rural Devon and offers a lifeline to the elderly and isolated people in those areas.
This level of organisation is becoming exhausting for Lloyd and Diana, who are calling for new volunteers to help. Perhaps some young people to bridge the inter-generation gap. There are many examples of inter-generational projects. You only have to take a look at the high proﬁle Channel 4’s ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ to see the beneﬁts.
I have personal experience of how well mixing children with older people works in my own community, where we run a Memory Cafe. During the school holidays volunteers bring their children and grandchildren to the cafe. The children lift the atmosphere to a new level of joy, which is palpable. They read stories, play games and just chat to our members, without any prejudice or, to be honest, any sort of preconceived ideas at all. If Young at Heart were able to tap into this valuable resource this would help to ensure the sustainability their project both in the short and long-term.
We left before lunch, energised and secure in the knowledge that the morning’s activities satisﬁed the minds, bodies and souls of the participants.
It was a real ‘slam-dunk’ of a day!
Nicola Hobson, Devon Community Foundation ambassador
To find out more about the Young at Heart Club visit their website here.
Devon Community Foundation have been able to support the Young at Heart Club with three grants over the last four years. The last one, in April this year was made to support transport costs for members to attend the club, and was issued thanks to the Hazel and Gerald Frankpitt Fund.