Holiday clubs for the elderly

THOUSANDS of children are enjoying holiday clubs run by churches this summer. And, some churches are running holiday clubs with a difference – for older people who may not be able to get away for a vacation.

The Holiday at Home club in Bicester is now in its fourth year. Run by Churches in Bicester, the club takes 40 people and is aimed at those who can’t get away on holiday. LLM Elizabeth Taylor started the scheme when she returned from overseas and wondered how she could get involved in church. “Everything I heard on the radio was about the loneliness of the elderly. We started a weekly tea and coffee club.”

Transport is offered. “At first, we tried to do it just with cars, then with a church minibus and last year, we used an Oxfordshire County Council minibus which is fitted with a hoist for getting people in and out with wheelchairs. This year we looked into hiring it again and the council is paying for it.”

Residents in local care homes are invited. Activities include crafts, games, a museum experience, a film and a tea dance.

The Holiday at Home takes place at Emmanuel Church Bicester on August 14-17, 10.30am-3.30pm.

Similarly, in Warfield, Berkshire, a two-day Holiday at Home club starts with tea, coffee and biscuits, before mosaic making and other crafts, nail painting, and other activities in stations around the church.

“People can go from one to the other, or sit and watch,” says Serena Parsons, the organiser. A home-made lunch is provided before afternoon activities which include bingo, singing around the piano and a quiz.

The initiative was spearheaded by the Revd Janet Taft, who used to be an associate minister at Warfield and started the Autumn Club, a group for older members of the church.

Transport is provided for those who attend Holiday at Home which attracts around 25 people each day, with around 10 people helping. The event takes place on August 13 and 14.