Older people in Lancing have had the opportunity to try out lots of new activities, with the latest being an introduction to Tai Chi.
The free class at Royal Voluntary Service Chesham House Centre in South Street was part of First Time for Everything, a programme designed to help older people try something new for free in their community.
Jean Atkinson goes to all the First Time for Everything events at Chesham House. She said: “I enjoy the activities so much. Tai Chi was a gentle activity that helped me feel more relaxed.”
The initiative, run by Royal Voluntary Service and Prudential, aims to improve opportunities to stay active and social in older age.
Research by Royal Voluntary Service last year found that 65 per cent of people aged 60 and over wanted to try a new activity, but 29 per cent felt there were not enough local opportunities to do so.
Keen to address this, the charity joined forces with life insurance company Prudential to launch the First Time for Everything programme to improve older people’s access to new activities.
Margaret Peacock, activities coordinator at the Royal Voluntary Service Chesham House Centre, said: “It’s been wonderful to see the residents enjoying our First Time for Everything activities.
“Thanks to funding from Prudential, we have lots more exciting events coming up and hope that even more older people, their carers and families will come along. It is never too late to try something for the first time.”
The next First Time for Everything events will be glass painting next Monday and African drumming next Thursday, both of which are fully booked due to high demand for the classes.
However, people who are interested in trying something new can join in with a Christmas craft event on December 17.
Jillian Lobban, director of regulatory and legacy projects at Prudential, said: “The First Time for Everything programme has had a significant impact in the communities where it’s already run.
“We want to help create experiences that enhance the lives of older people and at the same time help address the epidemic of loneliness in the UK, particularly amongst the elderly.”
Royal Voluntary Service relies on support from local volunteers to help run First Time for Everything events and other social activities and is looking for more volunteers to join its friendly, dedicated team.
Margaret Peacock said: “For anyone with a few hours to spare, volunteering is a great way to get involved in the local community. Our volunteers are a wonderful bunch of people – many are aged 60 and over - and they really enjoy the buzz they get from helping others.”
For more information about the classes, or for volunteering opportunities as part of the team running the events, contact Margaret Peacock on 01903 854640, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/get-help/social-activities/social-events.