It all started with a Tea Dance … Bringing back and making memories …
Silver Sunday has become a national campaign tackling loneliness that affects so many older people.
“Our ambition has always been to create a day in the nations’ hearts where older people feel valued and are given new opportunities to get out of the house, learn new skills, make new friends and connect with the communities and generations around them – if we can have a Father’s Day and Mothering Sunday, why not a day for older people?” Lady Christabel Flight.
Lady Christabel Flight became a councillor in 2006, it was also her wish to become Old Peoples Champion for Westminster … a ‘meant to be’ moment as this coincided with initiatives of Sir Simon Milton, leader of Westminster City Council, to ‘Give young people a chance in life and celebrating older people in Westminster and beyond’.
Initially Lady Christabel Flight had the idea to hold a Tea Dance, having searched various venues, she ended up at the Great Room, Grosvenor House Hotel … of course.
Asking “How would the manager feel about holding a completely free Tea Dance for 1,000 Westminster residents aged 65 plus?” with the reply “He loves his mother”, she felt she could be onto a winner, and was right.
The event was and still is hugely popular, with recent performances from Sylvia Young Theatre School, professional dancers, and a live band, whilst enjoying a delicious cream tea, and a twirl on the dance floor. With invaluable help from Volunteer Police Cadets, Westminster City Council’s volunteers, Fortnum & Mason, and of course Grosvenor House Hotel, and so many others to make this event possible.
However, every single event offered for Silver Sunday whether it is a craft, sport, music, film, dance, talks, lunch is huge for each and every participant. Every year the event map grows, and so do the options, 2022, 11 years after the first Silver Sunday, saw more than 1,000 events throughout the UK helping older people out of loneliness and isolation, offering opportunities to try something new and meet new people. A generation that have contributed so much to our lives, offers us the opportunity to give a little something back.
Why has loneliness increased?
Apart from the obvious Covid-19 which has had an effect on so many lives, here are a few other facts:-
- WWII baby boom – following WWI and the baby boom of 1920, approx. 555,510 of those babies born turned 70 in 1990, WWII baby boom of 1946 saw 640,160 babies turn 70 in 2016.
- Live expectancy has increased from 60 in 1930 to 81 in 2020.
- Population of UK has risen from 45,900,000 in 1930 to 67,000,000 in 2020 with 12.4 million over age of 65.
- More common to move away for work, setting up home where the work is, it used to be traditional for trades to pass through the generations, therefore children would live nearby.
The quotes below are from those who have attended Silver Sunday Tea Dance:-
- Any problems I have completely vanish
- Living alone can feel like house arrest
- Parts of my brain working that were not working before
- Brought me back to when I was young
We have been offering walks for Silver Sunday for several years, gentle 1 hour walks, mindful of all abilities, below we were joined by Lady Christabel and Lucinda Hurrey who alongside Matthew Sykes do an amazing job organising this huge national event. More information can be found at www.silversunday.org.uk