This has been another successful year for the Sikh Elders Service with growing numbers of elders joining in regular activities and trips. The service continues to advocate on behalf of elders via one-to-one support in accessing statutory services to enable them to live independently.
Despite the challenging financial environment we are always actively looking for new growth opportunities to make the service sustainable. Our membership has grown by 200% over the last two years and we circulate 300 newsletters every quarter to our elders giving information on services and how they can get involved.
Our active and committed volunteers provide significant support to deliver quality services. We are always looking for new volunteers to join us so that we are able offer wider choices and support, particularly to those who are isolated in their homes through a befriending service.
Cha da cup (Cup of Tea)
This takes place every Monday morning at Touchstone’s Support Centre. To date we have seen numbers grow with up to 20 service users accessing this service. With a weekly Tai Chi class, we also offer tea and cake, a light lunch and lots of activities.
The group has contributed to several focus groups including, ‘The Time of Our Lives Charter’, making Leeds a more age-friendly city. ‘Urgent Care Services in the NHS’ and how to improve on current standards. They have also earned their own status as individual ‘Dementia Friends’ and take all this knowledge back to their families and their wider communities.
Over the summer period we have organised excursions to various attractions around Leeds, including Golden Acre Park, Kirkstall Abbey and Lotherton Hall. We have also been invited to visit The Discovery Centre at Leeds City Museum by Antonia Lovelace, an outing looked forward to by the entire group.
Bhooley bisre yaadein (forgotten memories)
Sikh Elders joined with Apna Day Centre to bring Sikh elders aged 50 and over evenings full of memories of Panjabi, Bollywood songs and poetry.
The group celebrated its anniversary in June 2016 with total of 83 people attending the project over the last year and a regular number of 30 attendees on a monthly basis.
The service users are getting their confidence as they familiarise with the group and now a few prepare their song, get coached and are confident in performing on the evening.
Summer Trip on the Steam Train
Everyone attentively listened to the volunteer guide talking about the history of the railway and the area.
Raat Di Roti (Dinner at Night)
Raat Di Roti, as part of the Leeds Older People Forum’s Time to Shine programme has been set up to reach socially isolated and lonely Panjabi speaking elders from South Asian communities. The service engages Panjabi speaking volunteers and their families to host fortnightly meals and invite a Panjabi speaking elderly guest, or for volunteers to be a guest at the elder’s own home. Through the practice of eating together participants share stories, thoughts and celebrate happiness between members of different generations. Quality time with an elder promotes emotional wellbeing and reduces social isolation and loneliness.
“The lonely elders want someone to come and talk to them and then they might feel happier. Someone visiting makes all the difference.”
“I have only a few words to say. We felt we felt we were out with our kids.”
“It’s been a long time since I have heard these songs. At home kids don’t let me listen to them as they are ‘boring’.”