Millwall Community Trust - International Day of Older Persons
At Millwall Community Trust (MCT) we aim to help the local community and hope to positively impact our entire community one way or another. Today, on International Day of Older Persons 2021, we wanted to highlight one way we do this for the special, local older people with our walking sports programme.
The Walking Sports programme in Rotherhithe helps bring older people from different backgrounds together through taking part in fun walking sports activities, which also helps reduce stress, isolation, and loneliness. The activities help support older people who are currently inactive and supports those with two or three limiting long-term health conditions, including dementia, mental health, limited mobility to stay fit and healthy.
30 minutes before each activity, refreshments are provided along with local newspapers to encourage individual and open table conversations with all the members. The programme has been well received by the community since being established.
From being a group of strangers to becoming a little family, the participants have definitely seen the benefits that come with attending the programme.
Raj Parekh, a participant of The Walking Sports Programme, said: “When my wife used to go to Time and Talent, she received information about physical activities going on here. We found that this would be quite suitable for her because she had Alzheimer’s. It appeared that this was helping her more than anything else in her life. Then, of course, her Alzheimer’s became worse and worse, and she was in a care home in Dulwich. So, we used to pick her up from Dulwich and come here because this was the highlight of her life. She passed away last year, and I thought I should continue because, to me, this is the best thing I could be doing for myself as well. It keeps you thinking positively by playing different games […] Once you get involved, you’ll feel that not only are you apart of this little family, but you are also benefitting. You don’t realise it, but slowly and steadily you realise that this becomes part of your life, and this has become part of my life.
The programme itself doesn’t just benefit the participants, but also the coaches who help run the sessions. Steve Rogers, a long-time MCT casual coach, is an older person who has also grown to become part of the little family at Docklands Settlement. He said: “I’ve been here 16 years, just part-time. I’ve always had a deep interest in sport, a deep love of sports. I think my experience as an older person certainly works well with the group we have at the moment, they’re all older people. And also, the walking football group I do after this at St Paul’s they’re also older people so it’s quite easy to slot in. Just come along and speak to people and see what you could offer the community and what they could offer to you.
Richard White, Community Development Manager at MCT, who runs this programme, said: “We’ve been running our programme for the best part of 4 years at The Dockland’s Settlement in Rotherhithe. Older people that could be living with dementia, limited mobility, could be isolated, so it’s a very much focused and targeted session where we support older people in feeling part of the community and having something to look forward to. The people that we get coming to this session, we’re such a tight, little family and we’re able to share different stories amongst the group and what they’re experiencing. We’re also there to help.”
If you would like to come to a session, or bring along an older person, feel free to turn up to either session in Rotherhithe:
Session: Walking Sports
Time: 10am – 11:30am
Venue: Docklands Settlements Community Centre, 400 Salter Rd, London SE16 5AA
Session: Walking Football
Time: 12pm - 1pm
Venue: St Paul's Sports Ground, Salter Rd, London SE16 5EF
Email: Richard White on [email protected] if you would like more information