6 Jan 2020
First of all, let us take this opportunity to wish everyone a healthy and happy 2020 – not only a new year but the start of a new decade. It is a special decade as it marks 10 years of what began as Young At Heart and later became Young At Heart ULO. They say that time flies when you are having fun and, I must personally say, the last 10 years have been fun, enlightening, educational and memorable for a whole host of different reasons.
We have had the Young At Heart Olympics, to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games, have been to see many pantomimes (oh no we haven’t… oh yes we have!), taken the group on some fantastic trips out to various places and have grown from just 8 members (4 people living with dementia and 4 carers) attending a weekly group to starting a new decade with well over 200 members attending 5 weekly activity groups and 3 monthly activities. We have welcomed so many new people to the family but have also had our fair share of emotional goodbyes. Our friends may be gone, but never forgotten.
To ring in the new year with the first group of the year, Stockton’s Activity and Social Group, we had a very laid back morning or drinking tea, eating biscuits and catching up with our friends after the 2-week festive break. We introduced our new songs, now starting the session with ‘Jolly Good Company’ and ending the session with ‘So Long, Farewell’.
On Monday afternoon, the group that meets in Billingham spent the afternoon regaling the group with stories of their Christmas and new year celebrations. We also chatted about any specific hobbies or interests that members would like to see at the group.
Also on Monday afternoon, the Young Onset Group had a relaxed afternoon chatting over a pottery competition on the iPad using the Pottery HD app to see who could create the most valuable pot. As there were only 2 members in attendance, we made the most of being able to get to know each other and enquiring about the Christmas period.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Activity and Social Group in Thornaby started with some socialisation but when they ran out of steam we split the group into two teams to play ‘Play Your Cards Right’. After 6 rounds, Team 2 was the clear winner having managed to complete the run of the cards twice, while Team 1 didn’t manage to complete the run of cards successfully.
On Thursday afternoon, the group that meets in Egglescliffe Community Centre came together to chat about Christmas celebrations, family visits and future group activities.
On Friday morning the Stockton Veterans welcomed a number of new members to the group, which is fantastic. We had two visitors from The Yorkshire Regiment, Richmond: regular attendee Mr Mike Crisp; who comes along regularly to support the Veterans, and Major Pat Ralph who came along today to observe and offer a brief history of his forces career.
As part of our regular ‘Military Memories’ section, two of our members proudly talked about their service career and gave us a brief insight into their time served, including how it supported and helped support their future careers. Our members always talk about their forces days with pride and passion it is good to hear their individual stories.
Next week, we will also have our monthly Stockton Veterans group which meets at the LiveWell Hub in Thornaby on Friday morning 10-12noon, and our annual visit to the Hutton Rudby Amateur Dramatics Society pantomime.
Next month, the Stockton Veterans will be celebrating Burns Night with a traditional Burns Supper served by our friends and the Durham branch of SSAFA.