Wellingborough group celebrates first birthday with push to help more elderly people

Golden Years has had a great first year, including a roller disco, ice skating at Beckworth Emporium and a trip to Ascot
Golden Years has had a great first year, including a roller disco, ice skating at Beckworth Emporium and a trip to Ascot

A group of ‘recycled teenagers’ are looking for ways to ensure their group can expand and help more people.

Golden Years is a community-based group for older people set up by Meg Neilan to reduce isolation and loneliness.

Golden Years has had a great first year, including a roller disco, ice skating at Beckworth Emporium and a trip to Ascot

Golden Years has had a great first year, including a roller disco, ice skating at Beckworth Emporium and a trip to Ascot

It runs a weekly friendship group as well as excursions and events each week for older people to participate in and enjoy new experiences.

Since the group’s launch a year ago, members have enjoyed an indoor skydive, cocktail making, a roller disco, supercar driving and hot lap experience at Rockingham Speedway, and a trip to Ascot.

As well as helping members enjoy new experiences while keeping active and sociable, Meg believes Golden Years helps save money on health care services, GP appointments and rehabilitation and she’d love to expand what they do.

Meg said: “I’m so proud of all of these amazing events and experiences we’re achieving, but ultimately it’s the positive impact and reducing the chronic loneliness and isolation that I’m more proud of and want to try and demonstrate.”

And she added: “There’s nothing about this group that I don’t love and I am so proud of it and everything it stands for.

“But I need to be able to find funding for a wage for me to be able to do it.”

Meg used to work in the health care sector but now spends more than 50 hours a week working on Golden Years.

But without getting paid for it, she has to work night shifts to support herself.

While looking into registering Golden Years as a charity, it became apparent that becoming a community interest company may be a better option.

But Meg admits they could do with some help, either with funding, advice or general support on helping Golden Years develop in the future.

Meg said: “If I can try to prove what the group stands for and the benefits it is having, if someone could invest in me for the group to keep going, they are potentially going to save a lot of money in the community in health care and GP appointments.

“It isn’t just the people in the group that benefit, it’s their families too.”

Some families are apprehensive when they hear about the group’s next challenge, but Meg said: “Not everybody is able to get to an old age and if they do, people should be able to enjoy it.

“Families have been amazed.

“It’s a chance to be out in the community and experience new things but doing so in a safe environment.

“I think we inspire a lot of people and I would like to think that Golden Years has helped people to feel healthy and helped people’s well-being.”

Golden Years has more than 20 regular members, although there are more on the books who attend events during the year.

The age range is 65 up to 90, with most people in their late 70s or early 80s.

It is mainly women, but Mel is a member with partner Sue and he said: “It’s really worked for me.

“We are recycled teenagers, that’s how we look at ourselves.”

Sue said: “I couldn’t imagine life without Meg and the group.”

And Mary described Golden Years as a ‘lifeline’.

The group has had great support from Wellingborough’s Nene Court, where they now have an office providing somewhere for Meg to work from.

But funding, especially for transport, is where they are appealing for help.

It costs about £500 a month to run a minibus for two trips a week plus fuel to pick up and take members home.

Meg said: “Most of the time the money that people pay just covers the fuel.

“An amazing solution would be if we could get funding or sponsors to get a minibus and all we had to do was fill up then we could do more trips each week.”

The members really value the time and effort Meg puts into Golden Years and they want to help her.

Ruth said: “Meg’s a workaholic, she doesn’t stop.

“She’s such a lovely girl, she would do anything for anyone.”

And Mary added: “Meg needs help, we need help.”

Meg recently took part in a wingwalk to raise money towards the group getting its own minibus and anyone who wants to sponsor her can do so by clicking here

Anyone who can help the group with funding, sponsorship, transport or advice, can call 07376 732084, email goldenyears.community@mail.com or search for Golden Years on Facebook.