On a grey Wednesday at the beginning of December 2020, members from the Ageing Better team and people involved with the programme met up with a filming crew in Birmingham. We were filming an advert for the National Lottery. As you know, Ageing Better in Birmingham is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund to support people over 50 who are socially isolated across the city.
A group of National Lottery winners had knitted 500 angels during November, helping them keep busy during the lockdown. The group decided they wanted these angels to reach people in Birmingham who didn't have many social connections, who may feel lonely and a bit down during this time.
After the angels had sat in quarantine for safety reasons, they were delivered in time for Christmas by locals who knew of people that would appreciate such a gift.
Commenting on the angels and the impact they will have is Nadima Vasi, from Edgbaston, who leads a community group called The Multicultural Community Group. During the pandemic, she's been very active in her local area helping people to stay connected with each other. With funding from Ageing Better in Birmingham, Nadima was able to run a cooking group called Sar Ramz which was well received by everyone who took part.
She said, "I was chosen to take part in the filming by Ageing Better because of my dedication to supporting my local community during the pandemic. I was so excited and honoured.
"We filmed together delivering the angels to people in my neighbourhood who I know are feeling lonely right now. Giving them a knock on the door presenting them with an angel and seeing a smile on their faces and then stopping for a bit of a chat made a big difference.
"I felt that I had actually done something good for my group and the community, and it felt good being recognised and appreciated for my work. I enjoyed every minute of filming!"
"I felt that I had actually done something good for my group and the community, and it felt good being recognised and appreciated for my work. I enjoyed every minute of filming! "Nadima
It was a bit cold and gloomy on the day, but everyone taking part kept their spirits high, knowing it was a good opportunity to highlight how Brummies have come together during this unexpected and tough year.
One local National Lottery winner who knitted during lockdown was Marie Kibler from Sutton Coldfield. She, and husband Paul, represented the group of West Midlands knitting winners by handing over the angels to Ageing Better from a safe distance. Marie and Paul said, "This year has shown just how essential and important social interaction is in maintaining good mental health. A massive thanks must go to Ageing Better in Birmingham for doing such wonderful work across the city…they are all angels themselves!"
People who have received the packs have said:
"This is a very nice gift and I loved it."
"Thank you for acknowledging the work that we are doing during the period of lock down to prevent our older citizens across Birmingham from becoming isolated."
"The pack arrived today, super thank you xx love the angels."