New committee members wanted for a large active community group providing entertainment and support for the elderly in a village in the Banbury area

L/D. Susanne Allen, secretary of Age Concern; Heather Madison, Committee Member; Sue Jeacock, committee member; Bernie Mayne, President; Steph Aris, committee member; Christine Sanderson, Treasurer

Age Concern, Middleton Cheney meets the first Wednesday of every month from 2-4pm in the village hall. Most of its members are from Middleton, but some come from outlying villages to enjoy the company, entertainment, support, information and occasional events.

The group is organized by a committee which also meets once a month, but the president and secretary step down in May and efforts are made to find replacements so that the group can continue.

Monthly gatherings of up to 50 people offer company, refreshments, raffles, bingo sessions, lectures and other entertainment.

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“We offer a monthly meeting at the village hall with entertainment, bingo, raffles and tea, coffee, sandwiches, cakes and seasonal specialties such as pancakes or strawberries and cream. We make sure also that anyone who has a birthday that month will be remembered at the meeting,” Secretary Susanne Allen said.

“We provide a fun, welcoming and inclusive space where people can meet and chat. It gets people out of their homes to meet friends and make new ones. It’s great to hear the volume of voices speaking together. We usually have around 50 people and people are starting to feel confident about coming together after the pandemic.”

“In April we will have a talk about the Cotswolds and in May we will hear about the work of Dogs for Good. We celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June and a visit from the local primary school choir in July “said Ms. Allen. .

“Later in the year we will include a harvest festival and demonstration of flower/foliage arrangement making. In November we always have a short remembrance piece with poppies, remembering all wars, and this year , we’ll have a Guy Fawkes lecture. December is our annual Christmas lunch with Secret Santa gifts and a visit from Santa himself,” she said.

“Our team of volunteers includes committee members and a flexible group of helpers who cover everything from setting up and cleaning the party hall, serving food and drinks, and calling numbers. of bingo.

“The aim of Age Concern is to give the older generation the opportunity to get out and meet other people, have fun and make new friends. a few years.

“The benefits of meeting other people and talking together impacts people’s well-being – physically and mentally. Many members have really lost touch during the pandemic when we had to put meetings on hold due to restrictions and the need to protect a vulnerable part of our community.”

Ms Allen said outings gave some home carers a chance to relax if their partner had a health condition.

“The majority of our members are between the ages of 70 and 95, but we are actively trying to bring in young people from the village, as we welcome anyone over the age of 55. We are really delighted to gradually increase the number of gentlemen to attend. at our meetings.

Age Concern was established over 70 years ago as The Old Peoples Welfare Club. It then changed its name to Age Concern. Many artists and speakers present are surprised at the size of the Middleton group.

“We have links with Age Uk but are not part of Age UK,” Ms Allen said. “For example, Age UK Northamptonshire keeps us informed of the services that are provided in our area and provides copies of Engage magazine.”

Members must attend Wednesday meetings six times a year to qualify for the subsidized/discounted Christmas lunch. The running costs of the group are covered by the small monthly entry fee and the fundraising efforts of the group.

Middleton Age Concern has been actively seeking new committee members for some time as well as new volunteers for the organizing group.

“If a new secretary and chairman cannot be found by the AGM in May, Age Concern’s role at Middleton Cheney will be in jeopardy. We face the very real possibility that we will have to close, which would be a great loss to the village and those who live there,” Ms Allen said.

Anyone wanting more information or wanting to get involved should contact Bernie Mayne on 01295 710851.

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