A loneliness charity, thanks to successful funding, is set to host a coronation party on Wednesday 3 May for older people living in Sheffield.
B:Friend, a charity which operates across South Yorkshire and parts of Derbyshire, launched in 2017 as a way of connecting lonely adults, or ‘older neighbours’ as they prefer, across the community to forge new friendships.
The organisation will host the coronation event at Gleadless Methodist Hall before launching a bigger celebration in Conisbrough later in the week.
Communications officer and leader of Gleadless Social Club, Sara Kopecsni, 31, from Sheffield, said: “So many of our older neighbours still remember the Queen’s coronation, so it’s so important for us to mark this special moment in history and help people relive old memories.
“We heard about the funding from one of our members at the social club, and we’re so glad that he told us as it’s helping people celebrate that might not have got the chance to otherwise.”
Giving back to the community
The charity taking the older neighbours on a barge trip
The party has been funded by the East Local Area committee and will have a range of sandwiches and cakes alongside a musical performance and dancing.
As just one of the organisation’s many social clubs, the liveliness of the planned coronation event reflects the charity’s commitment to offer activities that defy age stereotypes as well as a befriending service that matches older people to young volunteers.
Kopecsni said: “We always try to offer our neighbours something different from Zumba and dancing to chairobics and armchair travels, but it’s not just our members that gain something from the work we do, our volunteers do too.
“They always say how rewarding it is to give back to the community and I find our older neighbours very inspiring in how open they are to meeting new people.”
B:Friend like to pick age-defying activities for their older members to participate in
‘Let’s Celeb:rate!’ project
The Gleadless Social Club party is open to anyone in the area, but it’s just the start of the coronation celebrations for B:Friend who are set to launch a bigger event in Conisbrough on Wednesday 10 May for 150 older guests.
The grant will enable the charity to organise activities for their older members to celebrate the King’s coronation and Eurovision 2023, alongside commemorating the 75th anniversary of Windrush.
CEO of B:Friend, Colette Bunker, said: “Our charity’s mission is to re-engage over 65s with the community around them and to tackle the loneliness and isolation that many of them face every day.
“This fantastic funding from The National Lottery community fund will allow us to bring together our older neighbours, many of whom would not have the chance to take part in the coronation celebrations otherwise. We are so thrilled to organise an event where people can have a good time amongst friends, make new memories and connect with others.”
One of the group’s yoga sessions
Whilst the Gleadless Social Club event is open to all, the Conisbrough party is specially catered for B:Friend’s older locals to come together as a community.
The celebration will host a buffet, raffle, games and musical entertainment as well as the ‘Big B:Friend Coronation Quiz’, where the attendees can test their royal knowledge.
Ms Kopecsni said: “All our guests are so excited and really looking forward to what will be a new experience for many of us.
“We’re so grateful for all the funding we’ve received and just goes to show that you’re never too old to have a good time.”
The Gleadless Social Club event will take place on Wednesday 3 May from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at Gleadless Methodist Church Hall. Find out more about the event here
To find out more about B:Friend’s work or to get involved visit the website here
Register or self-refer an older neighbour here
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