The Leeds Older People’s Forum AGM provided a wonderful opportunity to hear first-hand the experiences of older people in the city. Many people spoke of the positive and creative opportunities arisen from Time to Shine, and how projects have enabled older people to push themselves and try new things.
Naseem is a volunteer in the Choices project at Feel Good Factor. She spoke beautifully about how she is happier and has developed confidence as a result of being involved in the project and having the opportunity to try new things and make friends. Naseem can do a much better job at telling her story than I:
Last year, in September, I took part in a performance at the Queens Hotel Ball Room called ‘Bus Ride’. It was the first time I had done anything like that. It was well out of my comfort zone. It was a massive, scary challenge. But I did it. In front of 193 people – I told my story.
Feel Good Factor took us on a bus trip to Whitby. There were 12 of us. I’d never been before. I’d been to Whitley Bay, when I lived in Newcastle but this was the first time I had been to Whitby. It was great going in a group – nice people to talk to – great company.
We got off the coach and we were walking around and I remember looking at a statue of two men on a bike. It was grey and quite dirty and just as I reached out to touch it, it moved! I got such a shock. I thought it was a real statue!
Then we walked up 98 steps and there was a church at the top. We walked back down and had fish and chips in a cafe and the owner gave me his card because he had rooms to rent above the shop. It was a lovely idea but if I had stayed overnight how would I have got home? There were boat trips in the harbour and I really wanted to go – but nobody else was bothered and I didn’t want to go on my own.
I was shattered when I got home. I could hardly make myself a cup of tea. But then I kept thinking about that boat trip. Why had I not gone on my own? I should have more confidence. I’ve decided – if I want to do something I’m going to go for it! Since then I’ve moved on. I volunteer for Feel Good Factor making home visits, encouraging and motivating people who feel isolated and alone. Just Iike I used to feel. I get them to come to social groups, to meet new friends. It makes me happy to see them smile and I think it makes them happy to see me smile.
Programme Manager (Learning)