Where it began!
The Young at heart club came about thanks to an idea by the Treasurer of St. Sidwell’s Community Centre. He suggested I ran a social club.
Firstly a survey was organised, which reached out to various centre users and groups.
Then I came up with the name ‘Young at Heart’, found a day and time which did not clash with other peer groups, and decided on a launch date – 06/07/2012.
Initially an over-50s social club, we are now trying to reach out to a wider audience. It is almost like starting from scratch.
We have expanded our sources of publicity, send emails to a wider range of publications, radio and TV stations, and have worked on this website.
In The News
Exeter man changes people’s lives
By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: May 01, 2015
AN Exeter resident is making a difference to people’s lives after setting up a social club in the city.
Simon Richmond set up Young at Heart three years ago with the help of a work colleague.
The social club for over 40s aims to help people with social inclusion and welcomes anyone who is lonely or depressed.
“We make people feel welcome with a smile and a hello,” said Simon. “We also aim to entertain and to convey a sense of being part of something open to the community.
“We try to attract people who are lonely, however, we aim to encourage people from all walks of life, and with different outlooks. People who suffer from psychological issues like depression and anxiety are always welcome.”
The club includes historical talks, speakers from charities, bingo, quizzes, games, and acoustic music.
Simon added: “I find running the club rewarding because it brings people together and gives them something to look forward to. We always have people saying how much they enjoy coming to the club. We attract people who would otherwise be secluded from the rest of society.
“People enjoy it because there are a variety of things happening, and they get to meet new people. I felt it would benefit people by helping them interconnect and make friends while being entertained at the same time.
“People are free to come to the club without prior notice. It gives me something to look forward to because I like meeting people. Others benefit because they meet new people and have some entertainment. I find that I have learnt a few things about running a club and also making people happy. I find it rewarding and interesting.”
Young at Heart is held at St Sidwell’s Community Centre on Sidwell Street. It costs £1 every week which includes light refreshments.
For more information phone the centre on 01392 666222
ANOTHER week and it’s another Secret Society for 91-year-old Muriel Folland.
Even after a broken hip, a broken wrist and limited by a three-wheeled walking aid there is no stopping serial clubber Muriel.
Last week she featured as the life and soul of the city’s Imperial Club, now this time round Muriel has joined in the fun to be at the Young at Heart club which has just started up at the St Sidwell’s Centre.
Muriel, who lives in Heavitree, caught the bus into the city to join the other newcomers who decided to take up Simon Richmond’s invitation.
Simon is a volunteer at the St Sidwell’s Community Centre who launched the new social club open for anyone over 50 years old.
Said Simon: “It will have activities like quizzes, hobby sessions, music and dancing, and talks on things of local and topical interest.
“The aim is for somewhere for people to come and make new friends while enjoying themselves.
“We had no idea what the response would be, we had to just wait and see, but the turnout is very good and we are vert pleased.”
Certainly Muriel was happy: “I do enjoy getting out. I don’t want to sit about at home.
“I love getting out and meeting different people. It keeps you active, not just your body but your mind too. That’s why I like the quizzes and the chat.
“This looks like it will be a very good club and I certainly will be coming back next week. I have broken my hip and my wrist but I can manage the bus into town and if not I might take a taxi.”
Marjorie Ellis, a beaming 82-year-old and former carer at the old Franklin Hospital in St Thomas said: “I have always liked the St Sidwell’s Centre. It is ve well run. I come for lunch here twice a week and that’s how I heard about the club.
“I like coming to a daytime meeting. I have to say I don’t like going out after dark these days, which is a sad thing but true for a lot of elderly people. Having an afternoon get-together is just wonderful and the people here are very pleasant and friendly.”
Terry Pope, a mere youngster at 69, had a particular affection for St Sidwell’s.
“I go to St Sidwell’s Chapel on a Thursday and we come in afterwards for coffee. It’s nice to see the old building used so well and I too will certainly be coming along to the future club meetings.”
Joan Bangwell,71, who caught the bus in from Axminster for the inaugural meeting of the Young at Heart Club said: “I like joining clubs. My family were the founder members of the Axminster Senior Citizens’ Club and I was made a life member when I was about five.
“Exeter is quite a way to come but with something like this it’s really well worth it and I’d recommend it to anyone – particularly if they live in the city.”
The new club will run on a weekly basis, meeting on Friday at the St Sidwell’s Centre between 1.30pm and 3.15pm.
If you would like to see your club featured in the Express & Echo, contact Mike Byrne on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01392 442238.
EXPRESS & ECHO, THURSDAY, 12TH JULY, 2012
A few words from a volunteer
This piece has been kindly donated by Caroline Wills
(Volunteer and regular member of the Young at Heart Club)
My name is Caroline Wills and I would like to take this opportunity to let people know about the
Young at Heart Club at St. Sidwell’s Community Centre in Exeter.
Having experienced a terrible ordeal involving a very close family member during 2013,
I was aware that life had to continue for me. Although still grieving, I began to search for a sense
of purpose. I began to make new friends at St. Sid’s after taking on a voluntary role. I found that staff,
volunteers and centre users were very approachable and also very supportive towards me and I felt less lonely.
Eventually, I ventured in to the Young at Heart Club, which is a community group that runs every week.
The group is run by 2 long-term volunteers called Sue and Simon and has been going for about 3 years.
They encouraged me to come along to the group. I was delighted to find that the club had some very
interesting speakers, great music events in which both Sue and Simon sometimes participated, occasional
games including bingo (which is my favourite), quizzes, and Call My Bluff. I have also met some lovely,
friendly people and been given the chance to help out with the refreshments (which I enjoy).
The club is very low-key and not at all regimented. I have learnt to laugh again and have made new friends.
I have also advanced my knowledge of what organisations are available in and around Exeter through