A social club taking place twice weekly at Erskine Court housing with care scheme in Lordshill, open to anyone over 50 in the local community is helping to stop social isolation, combat loneliness and develop relationships.
The groups, running every Tuesday and Wednesday, 2pm to 4pm in the communal area help to bring residents of Erskine Court and other members of the community together. The sessions are 50p per person to attend, which includes refreshments and biscuits, with any extra games costing 50p to join in.
Tuesday is ‘Hoy Club’ a bingo-like game played in groups with prizes for the winner and Wednesday is ‘Social club’, which includes a variety of different activities each week such as bingo, guest speakers, live singers and arts & crafts.
Erskine Court is a ‘housing with care’ complex for those over 55. Owned and managed by Southampton City Council, the complex provides 54 fully self-contained flats, including support and care on site 24/7 which can adapt as the person’s needs change, allowing residents to maintain their independence for as long as possible. The complex also boasts communal facilities open to the public – including an onsite community café, well-being suite, hairdressers and several lounges where residents and the wider community can meet and enjoy events and activities.
Martha Fernandes originally from Goa comes to the club every week from Shirley after her daughter put her in touch with the council 60+ Housing Support Service. Martha said: “I was feeling very depressed being stuck in the house all of the time, they asked me what my interests were and I told them how much I love Scrabble. They helped me to organise a dial-a-ride to Hoy Club once a week where I play Hoy and Scrabble with friends. I now feel a lot better, I love the company the Erskine Court social club brings, I recently lost a member of my family and I felt Hoy Club helped to provide the support network I needed with someone to talk to.”
Kathleen Hann, an Erskine Court resident since its opening, was a council housing tenant for many years, until the passing of her husband in 2017. Her three children live far away, so downsizing to Erskine Court made sense at this stage in her life. She had a hip replacement several years ago and, while she remains quite mobile and independent, admits that at her age she may sometimes need the support of the scheme’s care staff.
Kathleen said: “Being in a community has always been important to me, even more so now since my husband has passed away. Fortunately, I’ve lived in Lordshill for many years and have many friends in the neighbourhood. I love that Erskine Court has the communal facilities where we can all get together and have a good natter and a laugh, I look forward to the social clubs every week and have made some great friends in the process.”
Rachel Ciupek, Activity Coordinator, at Southampton City Council said “The success of these sessions have really been established from the ground up when residents first moved into Erskine Court in late 2017. We’ve seen some really nice friendships develop between attendees with some even arranging shopping trips or going off on holiday together.”
Councillor Lorna Fielker, Cabinet Member for Adult Care, commented “No one should be lonely or feel isolated in their homes, we’d like our residents to know that these activities are available and we encourage everyone over 50 to take advantage of them. Following the success of Erskine Court in encouraging residents to remain independent, we welcome the new Potters Court Scheme being built in Millbrook and due to open in 2020 which will have similar communal facilities helping to bring the community together.
Activities at the councils 24 supported housing schemes are all open to anyone in the community aged 50+ to come along and join in. If you are interested in getting involved or know of anyone else that might be, get in touch on 023 8091 5131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.