NO…the heading is not a typo! Manchester Cares is a wonderful, caring organisation that integrate younger volunteers with people over 65 years of age. We all get involved with enjoyable activities, which are good for the body and soul. The difference in ages only makes it even more enjoyable.
Getting together with different age ranges can be a lovely space for learning. Everyone can share their knowledge from the past and present and you often find out new things. The younger neighbours are keen to learn about how things were “way back when” which often happens in our Movies, Music and Memories club- where the young at heart will tell lots of their memories of growing up, and seaside holidays. The older of us also really enjoy listening to the modern take on things from the volunteers, and we have lots of good discussions in the clubs.
Some neighbours provide a different slant on things, we have people from all different parts of the UK and even from across the world. This can make clubs very fun. We’ve had neighbours from Spain leading Salsa dancing, and Scottish neighbours older and younger leading a Burns night and Ceilidh. People in the community contribute lots to the network
The activities cater for all ages. “Desert Island Discs” for instance is a session that’s very popular- both online and in person. Everyone attending picks a song that means something to them based on the month’s “theme." When the song is played at the session, the person who picked it can then relate why it was chosen…sometimes happy memories, sometimes not quite so happy but either way it can build mental strength and togetherness. The group can sing, dance, or just listen for the hour. Music is stimulating and (pardon the cliché), a great medicine. One of the best parts of this club is getting to hear new music. At one club last February, a volunteer played a band called ‘Bloc Party’ who I’d never heard before…but I bought their CD Silent Alarm right after the club.
Having enrolled with Manchester Cares in it’s infancy, I have tried to partake in as many activities as possible….and am glad I do!
Even though I am an outgoing person, Manchester Cares help everybody’s wellbeing, whatever their ability, both mentally and physically. It is a fact when we become older we don’t fire on all cylinders…even me! However, the organisation understands this and offers a great deal of patience and understanding.
Everyone is very supportive, which in my opinion, is a key word for Manchester Cares as they do offer support for those needing assistance. Whether trying to fathom out a computer, to distributing items to older people in winter to keep warm if required…
I am pleased to be an “Age-Friendly” DJ for local care homes, housing schemes and dementia groups and am thankful for Manchester Cares letting me compile a monthly quiz (and act as quizmaster), and provide music whenever required. This is my way of saying a big “THANK YOU” to the team for all their efforts. I really enjoy compiling quizzes and putting my love of music to good use, and it's been great to be kept busy this year.
Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, all activities have had to take place by phone-in or Zoom video chat. Although it’s not quite the same as meeting up physically, most people are very grateful Zoom exists as, without it, isolation would feel even worse in today’s extraordinary times.
Those young at heart may think that it’s “technology again” and they won’t be able to use it and want to shy away, but Manchester Cares' team have assisted those who may find difficulty. Most people are glad they took the plunge so they can join in with the many activities the organisation offers.
It is not only Manchester who benefits from The Cares Family as other sister groups in London and Liverpool run similar activities and occasionally meet up on Zoom for a disco party and general revelry.
As I stated at the beginning, Manchester Cares CARES, and I highly recommend their free social activities. I always look forward to my monthly programme dropping through my letterbox, and looking out for emails and coverage of activities on Facebook and the like.
ALL IN ALL WE HAVE FUN! GED REEK (Friend of Manchester Cares)
Posted by Ged Reek on Tuesday 16th February 2021
Neighbour of the Manchester Cares Community Network