The free membership now has over 1,000 members who receive free quarterly newsletters and ‘What’s On’ activity guides about what’s happening in our town. The programme also has over 150 local organisations and groups who have joined to help tackle loneliness and isolation in Middlesbrough.
The Big Lottery Funded programme is working with people aged 50 and over in Middlesbrough to help reduce loneliness and isolation by connecting them to the community.
Helena Gordon, 63, member and volunteer with Ageing Better Middlesbrough says: “We may only give an hour here or there but never underestimate the value of that time. I feel part of the community and it’s a reason to get up in the morning.”
Loneliness and social isolation is common in older people and the impact is severe – it can have a negative effect on blood pressure, mental health, mortality and is also linked to depression.
The number of centenarians in the UK has quadrupled in the past 30 years, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. In the past decade alone, the number of people reaching the age of 100 has increased by 71%. The number of people over 90 has nearly trebled over the past 30 years.
As well as working intensively with the most lonely and isolated people to help them tackle the different issues in their lives that may be contributing to their isolation and loneliness, the team at Ageing Better Middlesbrough also organise events for members. Also offering free taster sessions has helped people try out new activities and make new friends. One recent event was a free lunch on Christmas Day. The lunch at St Mary’s Cathedral, Coulby Newham, was cooked and served for members who would have otherwise been on their own.
Member quotes from Christmas Day meal: “I’m very grateful for this, Christmas is a tough time. Christmas lunch was probably the toughest, so I’m glad of this.”
“Ageing Better Middlesbrough has changed my life after my husband’s death.”
Another member, Mabel McGurk, 92, has just been awarded the British Empire Medal. She is still volunteering at James Cook University Hospital and attends lots of Ageing Better’s free taster sessions.
Some of the exciting future developments for Ageing Better Middlesbrough are the 50+ Sports Day on 25th March 10am-4pm at Middlesbrough Sports Village and the development of Middlesbrough’s very own Men’s Shed with Groundwork’s North East.
If you or someone you know ever feels lonely you can call the team now on 01642 257030 or join as a member at www.ageingbettermiddlesbrough.org.uk