“Twenty-seven years, I’ve been on my own. It’s been difficult at times but I’ve managed. I do believe that doing a bit of exercise and getting out and about does you the world of good. I keep myself fairly fit – I try to, anyway. I was very active before. I used to go swimming and I’ve done a marathon bike ride to Scarborough. That’s how I met my late husband, through cycling.
I used to bring my elderly step-father, Frank, to Armley Helping Hands after he was diagnosed with dementia. I was his carer. I’ve looked after them all: my gran, my husband, my mother, my brother and his wife and, lastly, my step-father. Everyone always says, ‘Who’s going to look after you?’ And I always reply that I don’t need anyone; I can look after myself. You’ve got to. You’ve got to put your mind to things and just get on with it. I like my independence; I do like to do what I want. Coming to the Thursday club, for example. I wouldn’t plan anything on this day because I enjoy coming here. Talking round the table, exchanging views and catching up, good or bad. These places are wonderful, they’re a Godsend. They provide such a lifeline for those of us here. I hope they can keep going.”
Armley Helping Hands is a local charity that supports older people by providing a variety of activities and services. Having received a Lunch Club Grant from the Foundation, they were able to provide a weekly meal and rare chance for the area’s older residents to interact. By providing advice, support and healthy living activities within the Lunch Clubs, they help over 80 older residents to gain independence and actively participate in their communities.
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