Bramley Elderly Action
From tea dances to Tai Chi - tackling social isolation and loneliness among older people in Leeds.
‘You don’t want age or disability to be a barrier to living your life,’ said Rebecca Durrant, Transport Worker at Bramley Elderly Action. ‘Our focus is on tackling social isolation and loneliness amongst older people.
‘Bramley Elderly Action and our partner organisation, Older Wiser Local Seniors (OWLS), provide access to a huge variety of services. Our members go to lunch clubs, exercise classes, tea dances, outings and trips, social activities – there’s even Tai Chi. They also attend particular groups – for example, we have a men’s day that aims to recreate the social contact of a pub, but without the alcohol – darts and dominos and so on.
‘You can see the impact that these services have on people, it’s so important to still feel part of everything, not to be isolated and stuck in your home. For our wheelchair users, you can see how important it is just to go out, even just the drive, speaking to someone new, it just lifts them up.
‘Access to gentle exercise is also really important, not only for people’s health, but also the positive change it makes to people’s outlook.’
Bramley Elderly Action, which supports older people in Bramley, Swinnow and parts of Stanningley in West Leeds and OWLS, which supports older people in Headingley, Hyde Park and parts of Kirkstall in North West Leeds, use minibuses from Leeds Alternative Travel (LAT) to transport their members to their wide variety of activities. They are among the 35 Neighbourhood Network Schemes that support older people throughout Leeds.
‘OWLS originally had their own transport,’ explains Rebecca. ‘But when their bus was damaged by flooding two years ago, they turned to LAT to make sure their members could still have access to services. We rely on LAT to get the older people of Headingley to their groups.’