The street was our kingdom, our safety net

The street was our kingdom, our safety net

As we approach Ageing Together Week 2019, Nina, one of our Age of Experience members with extensive involvement in the Ageing Better in Birmingham programme, shares her experience of growing up in Birmingham. Read her story below. 


"Growing up in the 1960s and 70s was great. I would play with my first ever best friend, Clare, and her brother Joe. Most of our time was spent across the road on the factory steps; we would take our mothers’ sheets and tie them round the rails to make ‘houses’.

One year my mother bought me a Silver Cross pram for Christmas from the antiques shop across the way. I don’t know how many times that pram went up and down the street with dolls (and friends!) in it. Life was carefree.

I would go to the sweet shop to get my dad’s cigarettes and the owner always let me choose a penny sweet to eat on the way home. When I got my pocket money on Fridays, he would give me a little paper bag to fill. Those bags of sweets were like bags of gold. I remember looking up at the chocolate bars above the counter and wondering what they tasted like; I could never afford one. It wasn’t until I was much older that I first enjoyed the taste of a chocolate bar.

The street was our kingdom, our safety net. We would take lollipop sticks and dig out the dirt from between the paving stones while we decided what to play – hide and seek, go-karting, knock and run or tig. When you looked up the street towards the horizon, the end of the road looked like the end of the world.

When I go back to my old home as an adult, the shops have changed, the factory steps are gone, the once brick pavement is now tarmac, and instead of the horizon, there are trees and houses in the distance. Where we used to play out all day long, there isn’t a child in sight!

I’m still friends with Clare and Joe now; those bonds from our childhood days in the 60s and 70s live on to this day."


Nina has supported the programme through her involvement in everything from making decisions on marketing designs, to where financial support goes in the community. She's a treasured member of the Age of Experience group, and having experienced isolation herself, takes an active role in helping people in her local community come together. 


To find out more about Ageing Together Week, and how you can help make isolated people in your neighbourhood less isolated, head over to https://www.ageingbetterinbirmingham.co.uk/AgeingTogetherWeek

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