New project introduces fun workshops for the elderly to tackle loneliness

Staff Reporter (13 October, 2018)

Arts can help reverse the feeling of isolation experienced by so many older people and can also help bring new friendships into their lives.


A new project for elderly people was introduced to help tackle loneliness and isolation in London, last week, writes Nora Selina Helal…

Run by Royal Voluntary Service and Prudential, First Time for Everything encourages older people to try exciting activities from storytelling to drama for free.

People aged 55 and over became involved in a dramatic storytelling workshop on the theme, ‘when I was younger’ for the first time at Anchor Trust Blue Grove House in Peckham and another group engaged in theatrical improvisation at Peckham Library, all last week.

The workshops included singing, engagingly story-telling and improvised drama scenes while wearing and using props.

Dee Davis, Royal Voluntary Service activity co-ordinator for Southwark and nearby areas in London said: “It’s been wonderful to see so many local people enjoying our First Time for Everything activities.

“Thanks to funding from Prudential, we have lots more exciting events coming up and hope that even older people, their carers and families will come along.

“It’s never too late to try something for the first time.

“For anyone with a few hours to spare, volunteering is a great way to get involved in the local community.

“Our volunteers are a wonderful bunch of people – many are aged 60 and over – and they really enjoy the buzz they get from helping others.”

A study revealed that the arts can help reverse the feeling of isolation experienced by so many older people and can also help bring new friendships into their lives. Staying active and social have been proven to be important to keeping fit and well in older age.

Further research by Royal Voluntary Service found that two thirds (65 per cent) of people aged 60 and over wanted to try a new activity, 29 per cent felt there were not enough local opportunities to do so.

Mary Whalley from Blue Grove House said: “I enjoyed hearing what people had done in their past.  Many had been teachers as not much choice then … Either a teacher or a nurse.”

Jillian Lobban, director of regulatory and legacy projects at Prudential, said: “The First Time for Everything programme has had a significant impact in the communities where it’s already run.

“We want to help create experiences that enhance the lives of older people and at the same time help address the epidemic of loneliness in the UK, particularly amongst the elderly.

“We’re therefore delighted to be supporting Royal Voluntary Service.  We hope that even more older people will enjoy trying First Time for Everything activities in 2018.”

The next event will be on Origami and taking place in Dulwich Library on Thursday, November 29, 2018, from 2pm to 4.15pm.

For more information about Prudential First Time for Everything activities and other services for older people in Southwark and to find out more about local volunteering opportunities, contact Royal Voluntary Service:

Dee Davis on – 07388 950130, email –  or visit




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