Friday, 15 February 2013

Walsall Older Person's Project

St Martin's Church supports a range of charities, we have a very special link with the Walsall Older Persons Project - which is based at St Martin's.  This is the latest update from the group.

Another year has passed by and our Walsall Older Persons Project has now been meeting at St Martins for the last 8 years. They say that time flies when you’re happy and that remains one of our aims – to have fun and put a smile on the faces of people less fortunate than ourselves.

Our group started out as a small coffee morning meeting for a few people who left St Margaret’s when it closed in the 1980’s, and we still have 3 “founding members” on our books. Over the years it has evolved into a larger group and we came to St Martins as part of MENCAP in December 2004. In 2010, however, we faced a challenge when the Council were no longer able to fully fund our social and leisure service and, at that stage, we decided to carry things forward on a voluntary basis.
We have been fortunate to be able to maintain a consistent membership and, with the loss of Doreen Gough and Peter Connolly in the past 12 months, we have welcomed new members.  With an ageing group of older people (aged between 58 and 84yrs), we have however had some lengthy illnesses over recent months with “Big” George, Maureen and Patsy still unable to attend regularly. We are looking forward to having them back with us, hopefully sometime in the near future.
Also, many in our group faced the unsettling trauma last year of being rehoused as part of the Council’s review of Care Home services across the Borough. Whilst this broke up old friendships in various established homes, thankfully they are now all happily settled again in modern, fully equipped flats. 
We continue to take our group out, both to foster “community integration” and to facilitate their access to community facilities, which we all take for granted. As you will have seen from our noticeboard in the main church hall, we had outings last year to Southport and The West Midlands Safari Park as well as trips to The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton for their pantomime and other shows. A few people come along with us to a monthly disco evening at Pelsall Labour Club and Rex occasionally takes a couple our men to a Saturday football match at the Rushall Olympic ground. Our more regular outings have been for 10-pin bowling at GT Leisure Bowl in Bloxwich and for lunch and a game or two of bingo over the road at The Longhorn, where Esther Bennett and her staff always make us very welcome.
We could not do all this, however, without the support from the church community here at St Martins - support that we receive consistently and which everyone really appreciates. We want to say a big thank you, not only for your very generous financial support but, equally as important to us, for your friendship and genuine interest in the people we serve.