Sometimes in our busy day to day lives when there is lots going on around us, it's hard to find time to just sit, chat and get to know others in our community. But, when we do make the effort to take time out, it's quite amazing what we can find out about other people's life history and their personal experiences.
Time shared together like this is valuable to all of us, especially those in the community for whom full time work has probably come to an end, who's family members have grown up and whose time has become more their own.Recently, Stephan Neo, a socially aware manager of an independent Italian restaurant in the Arcadian in Birmingham thought it would be good to give back to the local over 50's community by offering a free lunch to participants of the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme.
Speaking about the lunch, Robert Cummins, from Shard End - one of the Age of Experience group members, said: "Conversations were evident on the various tables as we all enjoyed the meal, I was sitting with Millie and over the course of the meal I leant more of her interesting life and we had some laughs to share".
Robert was keen to encourage more people to take time out to socialise once in a while, he added:
"As we all know, to share a coffee or a meal is a good way to keep in contact with friends that perhaps we don't see so often, so challenge yourself to do just that in the next month"Robert Cummins
We also spoke with Linda Lloyd, from Great Barr, shown here sitting with some of her friends, all of whom have been involved with Ageing Better in some way.
Linda was delighted to say how the programme had enabled a great many groups for the older generation across the city, groups like a Dementia Choir and a Special needs support group.
We heard from Lena Middleton, who explained about the times she had spent with one of her elderly friends, simply chatting, sharing experiences and supporting each other. She said that time spent together like this is incredibly important and can, literally "add many happy years to someone's life".
There are so many people who are willing to give their time to help reduce isolation and loneliness, like Theresa Oldbury, a lady who loves the flexibility that voluntary working gives her and with a real heart for helping others. Theresa is closely involved with Think Positive, a group that promotes well-being and mental health, along with many other social and community activities that have been given that all important funding to get them started – and which, most importantly, are still continuing today.
And, of course, it's great to know that the heart for helping others, for "giving back" is not just reserved for those within the over 50's community, it clearly carries across the generations as demonstrated by the kind and generous donation of a free lunch for Ageing Better in Birmingham from the managers of Milano's Italian.
The Ageing Better Monday Meal on 9th March was kindly donated free of charge to Ageing Better participants by the management and owners of Milano's Italian Kitchen and Bar located in the Arcadian Centre, Hurst Street, Birmingham.