The start of winter is a time when people like to wrap up and stay at home – however not for Curo and some of our most senior customers...
Instead, we prefer to celebrate the start of the chilly months with a heart-warming boost, for our sheltered and Independent Living Service customers, of laughter, singing, Tai Chi, massage and fish and chips. More than 80 people launched themselves into the November chill with some much enjoyed ‘winter warmer’ events this week in Timsbury, Twerton and Keynsham organised by Curo Choice’s dedicated colleagues in our sheltered housing and Independent Living Service.
There’s been a lot in the press about the loneliness and downside of growing old but we like to challenge some of the stereotypes and show that we know how to have a really good time. Whilst the fish and chips and massage were amazing in very different ways, the word on the street is that the firm favourite was the singing we all did together. My personal favourite moment was when 40 people in Blagdon Park all sang ‘Jerusalem’ at the top of their voices – it was a genuinely emotional moment and one I will remember.
Led by our very own X-Factor diva Dilwen Miller we sang some classics such as ‘My Old Man Said Follow That Van’ and ‘Roll Out the Barrel’, and some so classic that even I don’t know them! Truth be known it’s lucky for us that Dilwen (one of our Extra Care Housing Officers) is an expert member of her church choir. She stepped into the fray at the last minute after our music man had to pull out due to family illness. Dilwen took to the stage – OK, front of the hall – like a true professional and led us lesser musically talented beings in a chorus of former hit songs.
In true ‘independent living’ style here’s what our customers have written, emailed and said to us about our Winter Warmers themselves…
“It was a very good afternoon with lots of things for our enjoyment – the singing was really wonderful bringing back memories of years ago.”
“Thoroughly enjoyed the day and met lots of new people which was simply lovely.”
“Enjoyed the laughing … when can we come again?”
“I think Curo has done lots of good things – this one was definitely the best”
There was an exciting intergenerational moment to all the events when our five volunteers from Bath University MBA course demonstrated Skype, Facebook and Twitter to some of our more senior customers not wanting to miss out on the next big thing!
One of our Independent Living Service colleagues visited a customer in their home the day after she attended the Timsbury event and she insisted on showing her the Tai Chi moves that she had learnt the day before. Someone else I know sang ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ at the top of their voice all the way home in the car. I recommend it as a cure for any winter blues by the way!
How did we make laughter and chips possible?
All of the above was made possible thanks to generous friends and supporters who sponsored Curo’s very own Chief Executive, Victor da Cunha, and Ian Sheppard, our Head of Management Accounts, to run the Bath Half Marathon. In a rash moment of sportiness, and true to Curo’s values as being a caring and trusting organisation rooted in the heart of the communities we serve, Vic and Ian ran the Bath Half Marathon – all 13.1 miles of it. Together they raised a whopping £1,600 for our well-being work with older people from their contacts who had faith that they would make it to the finish line.
The end result of their sore legs has been that lots of fun has been had by our Curo customers at a time of year when things can be a bit flat and pre-Christmassy. If we could bottle the feel-good factor that’s resulted from Curo’s Winter Warmers then we would.
If you are interested in what we do as part of our Independent Living Service then do get in touch by phone, email or even Twitter.
If you know someone who is lonely and struggling to live at home in the Bath & North East Somerset area then we may be able to help, both practically and emotionally. Our Independent Living Service is open to all and you don’t have to live in a Curo property to access our award-winning service.
Thanks again to all who made the Winter Warmers possible! If you want to help us do some more, or if you want to run the Bath Half on our behalf, just let us know!