Civitas Christmas Cheer with Age Uk

An Ark Christmas is a Civitas Christmas and no one embodied this more than Miss Addison and Plato House, who put their Charity Week funds towards a Christmas dinner for a group of older people from Age Uk.

A fantastic afternoon was had by all who attended and we are pleased that our students got the opportunity to spend time in such interesting and friendly company.

One of thediners, Tock, spoke highly of Age Uk and how it had assisted her: ‘They helped me with quite a bit of things, with my fostering and my divorce. When I retired I went to Age Uk and I didn’t have to pay for some services. They recommended a lawyer near here, helped me to fill in the form and submitted it to the court and I got my divorce after 6 months. They say to drop in if you need anything; I love them, love them!’

The most raucous table housed Elmina and Theresa, who agreed the luncheon was a good way to socialise: ‘It is very nice, I’ve enjoyed it very much and we were laughing all the time. Age Uk helps me to get out there and meet people.’ Theresa added: It was Heaven today – I could do it every day! It’s good when you get to our age and you’re alone, you still like to meet people, you know?’

Daksha Chauhan Keys, Chief Officer of Age Uk in Brent expressed her delight at the festivities:

‘We’re so pleased that you have organised this event because we’ve managed to bring about 40 older people, most of them who live on their own. It’s to support them to get to know other people and to reduce social isolation because they don’t get out as much as they’d like.

Age Uk nationally have a massive campaign called ‘No-one should have no-one’ so we are trying to encourage more people to become volunteers and run activities and events like this or do be-friending.

She explained that a large part of the charity’s work involves a social element: ‘We do outings and coach trips frequently because the older people love going on trips. Last year they had a cream tea and we did Christmas markets this year as well.

Ms Chauhan Keys recognises the importance of mixing the age brackets:

‘We are also looking for new trustees and are keen to get younger people to come and join our board as we believe that inter-generational work is the way forward.’ We couldn’t agree more!

As a former volunteer, Vi knows just how much Age Uk is needed for the community: ‘I used to do voluntary work here and now I’m in the Champions which is a group where we try to assist people and we get training on how to deal with dementia. If there is somebody that needs help we are there for them.’

Year 11 student Izzy got a new perspective: ‘I think today has been a really good day. I got to socialise with people that I never really get to spend time with. I think it’s been good for the younger students especially to meet other people who they don’t really talk to often and realise the issues that older people go through.

She also had a fun dining companion in Olasupo: ‘I’m sitting next to a Nigerian man and Nigerians and Ghanaians kind of clash with each other so I’ve been hearing lots of stories about how he thinks Ghanaian’s are a specific way and it’s just been very interesting to hear!’

Olasupo agreed:’ We talked about her family, my children. I learned that Izzy is very intelligent and comes from a close knit family of Ghanaians - who are the worst womanisers in the whole of Africa haha! Age Uk do a lot for me - I’m disabled and can’t see so I have to fight to get my disability allowance and pension credits.

Cricket fanatic Mr Austin told us how the organisation helps him enjoy his passion: ‘I’m very happy that I got in touch with Age Uk because it has done me the world of good and I met 2 famous cricketers at Lords ground!’

I’m a fan of cricket – my team is the West Indies but I watch any other team – Warwickshire, Glamorgan, Australia – I enjoy it and it’s fun.  I used to play with General Electrical Engineering sporting club and I was the bowler. I was a fast bowler, sometimes I got them out!

When you’re at home and you know you have a day to go out and meet so many nice people – it makes life much more interesting and much more wonderful.  When I went to Lords they gave me a card which said that I could come to any match for one year for a fee and I got that through Age Uk, and I pay less than I normally would. The best was the match between England and Australia, that was nice.’

We would like to thank Age Uk, all of the lovely people who made the lunch such a success, Blue Check restaurant in Wembley Park for hosting our event and Ribena UK, who provided drinks on the day.