In our previous issue, we looked at facilities for young people at the Rockbourne Centre. Now, Mary-Anne Finkelstein of our Leisure Sub-Committee looks at what’s on offer for older members of our community.
There’s a stately-looking building on Stanstead Road that has always appealed to me: “SENIORS,” says a colourful, hand-painted sign in front of the building. So when I was asked to look into resources for older people in our community, this was my first stop.
“Seniors” is a registered not-for-profit charity, the official name of which is Lewisham Elders Resource Centre, run by and for people aged 50 and over. Their patron is Rudolph Walker, OBE, known to most of us as Patrick Truman on Eastenders.
About 750 people use Seniors each month. They come for activities ranging from line dancing to art appreciation, as well as keep-fit classes and a newly-formed creative writing group. Seniors celebrates maturity, working on the concept that older people should be appreciated as valuable resources for the whole of the community. At Seniors, says Mary Jeremiah, the Director, ‘people are able to make friends and find new avenues of expression.’
The house itself, which is Grade II listed, is undergoing a £1.5 million refurbishment to make it completely unique and accessible; the charity has raised about half their target amount already. Phase One, now completed, meant replacing the crumbling roof, and Phase Two will see the beautiful conservatory to the side of the building restored to its former glory.
Two advisers work from the building, helping anyone 60 and over to fill in benefits forms and such like. There is an open surgery on Thursday mornings, or a home visit can be booked by ringing 020 8699 1177.
A lifetime membership costs £1; the charity encourages contributions and runs various fundraising schemes to cover costs. However, says Mary, money should not be a bar to anyone wishing to use Seniors as a resource.
To get in touch, offer support or find out about forthcoming events, contact Mary Jeremiah on 0208 699 4977. Seniors is located at 260 Stanstead Road, SE23 1DD. Buses 185 and 171 run past the front door.