'Volunteering helps keep us young'

Tameside is celebrating the contribution that older people make to their community to mark the United Nations International Day for Older Persons today (Tuesday).

Many older residents take part in activities and volunteering throughout the borough to boost their own wellbeing and help others too. 

A trio of ladies who have been volunteering at Hyde’s Grafton Centre for years say it keeps them young - and they would all thoroughly recommend it.

Edna Edge, from Newton, has been volunteering for around three years and helps publicise the community centre, getting out and about to tell people about activities and events and hand out leaflets.

Edna, 80, said: “It keeps me fit and keeps me young and gets me out the house. It’s the socialising that I enjoy and you get a laugh and it helps keep your brain active.”

Maureen Macrae, from Hyde, and Pam Taylor, from Newton, have both been attending the centre for around 11 years and volunteering for five years. They help out in the kitchen, cooking two days a week.

Maureen, 72, said: “I enjoy the social side and meeting people. There are a lot of lovely people that come through Grafton. And it gets me out the house and keeps me young.

“I’d tell people considering volunteering that it’s a good thing and there are lots of different things they can volunteer for.”

Pam, 73, added: “I just love the social side of it. It’s brilliant and we have a really good laugh.”

The ladies all take part in various activities at the centre, including art, singing and Scrabble groups, and enjoy shows, parties and trips out. They also help with events and looking after people, with the community all making sure that everyone is well.

Grafton Centre Manager Gaynor Hannon said: “We only have two paid members of staff and couldn’t run without our volunteers. It’s important that people can meet here and get together and the volunteers keep us sustainable.

“Older volunteers bring experience and empathy and can be more caring. Volunteering is great as you feel that you have helped people. When you’re contributing to your area and people, you get a lot back from that. It makes you feel good.”

Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington, who is also the Greater Manchester lead for ageing and equalities, said: “Edna, Pam and Maureen are great examples of how age is no barrier to volunteering and how it keeps them young and I thank them for the wonderful service they give to their community.

“In Tameside and Greater Manchester, we’re committed to being one of the best places in the world to grow older as the UK’s first age-friendly city region.  As well as supporting our older people in leading active and healthy lives, we’re proud of the valuable contribution they make and encourage people to use their skills and experience to assist others, which can also help make new friends and have significant health benefits.”

International Day for Older Persons is observed on October 1 each year, but events will be taking place across Greater Manchester throughout this week.


Main image:

(From left to right) Edna Edge, Maureen Macrae and Pam Taylor

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