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“I’m amazed to see what we’ve achieved!”

Linda and Geraldine

Meet Linda who is part of ‘Better Bretton’ – a group of residents who work together to improve local lives and bring the community together in Peterborough. The project is in its third year, thanks to funding from People’s Health Trust.

I’m part of the Older People’s Network who organise and lead activities for people in my area. We meet every couple of months to plan and share information. We have been able to get small grants to help us to do things we haven’t tried before like a trip to seaside.

Eighteen months ago, I was hardly walking. To be honest when I first went along to the social events, I was sceptical. I thought we’d have trouble getting people to come to things we tried to organise but I’m so happy now to have interesting things to do. I’ve met so many people and I’m moving about much more.

The group has made a difference to the local community. People are coming out more. There’s so much to do with different social groups mixing with each other. Last week, we had a coffee morning, ukulele club, a social club fete, bingo and a community celebration event. This week, we’re taking a bus trip and running our own fun day. It’s made me more confident too – I am happier to put my point of view across, even if it’s different to someone else’s. I now have a great social network and enjoy being so busy!

We’re mixing with other housing schemes and have met others who want to attend our activities; everything seems to grow from there. The range of activities we put on has increased from coffee mornings and crafts to tai chi and laughing yoga. Things take time; people used to complain that no one turned up but now they joke that there’s too many people!

There’s a lot of fun and satisfaction gained from getting people together. It’s great to have supportive people around you and lots of different activities to try. I’m amazed to see what’s happened in the last 18 months and what I’ve personally achieved.

Geraldine, 61, attends some of the events that Linda organises.

I come along about four times a week. I do tai chi, bingo, crafts, chair based exercises and bus trips. I’ve made friends and gained so much companionship through the activities. I have been nominated to be our resident representative to the housing association and, thanks to my confidence increasing, I am planning on doing my master’s degree in Environmental Science this year.

I feel physically better now that I’m a part of something. My last check-up with the doctor showed that my blood pressure is back to normal levels – this has never happened before! I feel much more relaxed and I have a better social circle as well as being more active.

Better Bretton is a community group formed as part of the Local People Project in Peterborough, funded by People’s Health Trust. Royal Voluntary Service is supporting Local People Projects in six communities in England and Scotland. Residents in these communities are working together to set up activities, organise events and influence what goes on locally to make life better for older people.

Posted by at 00:00 Saturday, 01 December 2018.

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