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Lottery funding boost makes Silver Lights’ days brighter

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Whilst the lively, bustling, coach fills up you capture snippets of the camaraderie between the bus-full of septuagenarians and octogenarians.

"Silver Lights are a mixed community group and we have lots of outings in the summer and activities in the hall when the weather's bad; we do quizzes, we do chair exercises, bowls - just about everything and anything to amuse us," explains group leader, Lorna Hosford, as she ushers her friends to their seats before they embark on a day trip to Lady Dixon Park.

Silver Lights aims to counteract loneliness amongst the elderly by arranging a plethora of fun, community orientated events and outings on the second and fourth Tuesday each month.

Silver Lights also represents something of a nostalgic throwback, evoking a communal epoch of day trippers and fun days at the seaside; where real friends meet up, interact and share memories, stories and experiences with each other over a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Explaining the come-one, come-all ethos at the heart of the group, Lorna says: "We do all of this in the 'Hall for All' on the Downshire Road and, as it says, it is a hall for all - everybody's welcome. We love people from all different parts joining us and we'd like more people to come and join us.

"We've been running for about 10 years. Our Minister in St Mary's Church, Kingsley Sutton, started the group.

"We've applied for funding and our outing is thanks to Awards For All, they gave us a donation and they've been towards us. However, it's not affiliated with any church or denomination - it's community orientated."

Lorna fervently believes in the importance of maintaining social interaction to stave off loneliness as we get older, and feels that the group provides its members with something to look forward to each fortnight through its array of activities.

She said: "We do it on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from September to June and we have Christmas parties and all sorts. It gives people something to live forward to, as loneliness is the biggest killer amongst elderly people.

"With a lot of older people, their families aren't around, so they can go in on themselves and maybe don't want to go out, so we encourage them. Once they come they just love it and then they say 'When's the next one?'"

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