Meg Neilan is the Founder of Golden Years, a community group in the Wellingborough area, which supports and encourages older people to partake in a wide range of activities to help reduce the risk of social isolation. This is no ordinary group for older people and we are incredibly proud to be promoting a group that is effectively a Retired Youth Club. They strive to provide as many opportunities as possible for older people to challenge themselves and make the most out of life, whilst having fun and making new friends.
On the morning of Thursday 23rd November, the Golden Years group went for a little trip to the Beckworth Ice Emporium. It had been arranged for the group to visit the emporium and have an adapted experience on the ice. Out of the eight members who had booked onto the trip, only two of them had signed up to venture onto the ice. This in itself was an achievement as I knew getting two people to put their trust in me and try and something new made for a successful trip. The other members were simply coming along to ‘spectate’ and watch others out on the ice whilst enjoying a sausage roll and cup of hot-chocolate.
We arrived punctually and the two ladies who were booked for the ice-skating experience were allocated a pair of ice-skates and a wheelchair. Neither of the ladies normally use a wheelchair, but in this scenario it was a way of adapting the experience to enable them to glide their skates along the ice but in the safety of a seated position. The other members of our party very quickly realised how possible this experience was and promptly changed their minds about venturing onto the ice! Before we knew it, ALL eight of the Golden Years group AND volunteers had made it onto the ice. Each member had their turn in a wheelchair and many of them were offered a penguin to push around too, which added that extra bit of excitement to the experience. Beckworth staff were fantastic with helping to push the group round in the chairs to give them an exhilarating ride, with the added touch of the snow machine which really did create a fabulous atmosphere.
The laughter, beaming smiles and sheer enjoyment that came from this trip was overwhelming for me. To hear them each speaking so proudly about the fun they had had filled me with delight and heightened the driving force behind me wanting to create more and more experiences for them.
They all want to go again and are keen to encourage anybody else to have the same experience they have been able to have. They are the most amazing group and I am unbelievably proud of them for giving this event a chance, the fact they ended up loving it just makes the whole event a huge HUGE success.