My name is Yvette McDonald I run and organise events in the community through a ‘not for profit’ organisation called JustBe.
My journey with the elders of our community started with a group of ladies who are like Mothers to me. I’d speak to them weekly on the phone and regularly go for tea, cake or breakfast etc. I loved to hear them talk about their lives and are much more interesting to talk to than some of the people my age! I always come away empowered, inspired and encouraged. There’s so much you can learn from being in their company.
Last year one of our supporters spent some time with his Mother. As they reminisced about the old times, he soon realised how lonely his Mother was and how she needed to ‘talk’. He liked the idea of the trips that my husband and I organise yearly for a handful of the elderly and approached me to see if I’d organise a day out with other senior folk. He paid for a large coach which enabled me to take 48 senior citizens, (for free) to Margate in August and what a day we had! It was great fun watching the men play dominoes, women went shopping, others visited the Turner Art Gallery and nearly everyone ended their day eating fish and chips! I was even able to organise afternoon tea for 24 of them. We had so much fun.
Feedback from this group was amazing. They enjoyed themselves so much that they didn’t want the day to end. They wanted to have more social and cultural events organised for them, they enjoyed mixing/meeting with like-minded men and women – all of them intelligent and outgoing people aged over 65+.
Some wrote in their feedback:
“Thank you! I needed this day because I’ve not had fun like this in years”.
“…. it’s nice to get away from these 4 walls, meeting different people and enjoying the sunshine”.
Hugs/kisses and text messages followed which also clearly expressed how the day made them feel.
Funding for important projects like this is very difficult to find. With that in mind we are turning to you for help.
Below are some of the activities selected from the survey undertaken with the elders that they would like organised for them:
Coach trip to another seaside town
Healthy eating workshops
and much more …
I would love the opportunity to be able to provide all of the above to our amazing, spirited and generous senior citizens. I would like to organise two coach trips next year building on the success of this year, plus smaller events i.e. a pampering or games afternoon if I raise enough money.
One of my aims for this project is to enable our elders to achieve social inclusion in our community. To bring them together by organising various activities which will ultimately contribute towards their overall wellbeing. I want our seniors to thrive and not just survive because some of us are not able to take time out for them. They have so much life experience and wisdom so let’s tap into it!
This dream I have can only happen through the support of people like you, who really care, who really want to make a difference. All donations will help, large or small, it will be equally as appreciated. Let’s make magic happen in the hearts and lives of our elders, who are the reason many of us are here today!
2015 Woman in the Community Award
2014 BME Active Citizens Award for an outstanding BME Community Group
2014 Grassroots Giving Winners – recognised for supporting the local community
Visit www.just-be.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @JustBe4U