Club offers friendship for Clevedon residents in their ‘Fourth Age’

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Mollie Jones, 89, has been coming to the weekly Clevedon Happy Companions club for more than a decade.

Mollie enjoys seeing the same people every week “It’s more like a family really,” plus in her role as Members Rep, she enjoys welcoming new members to the group. “Some of us have known each other a long time.

“The volunteers work really hard planning activities, we couldn’t manage without them.”

The club has been meeting on Tuesdays for over 40 years, offering a weekly ‘day out’ for elderly isolated less mobile Clevedon residents. Volunteer drivers collect the members and bring them to the group where they enjoy good company and activities including seated exercise, speakers, quizzes, singalongs, celebratory meals, films by the Curzon Cinema, arts and crafts, music, laughter and fellowship.

For some of members this is their only social outing of the week and the only meal they don’t eat alone.

“The transport is essential, we couldn’t come without transport. This is an essential part of my week. For each session we pay £10 towards fees, travel and lunch” Mollie continues.

“I have a niece in London but she travels a lot with work. I was the youngest in my family and had 20 cousins but they’ve all gone now.”

Clevedon Happy Companions were awarded a North Somerset Older People’s Sustainability Grant of £1,700 for an outreach worker to publicise and expand the club, a little for rent and the newsletter.

Another member, aged 93, said: “’I don’t want to go home, it’s quiet there on my own, I like it here with my friends where we laugh.”

The group currently has around a dozen members, mostly in their late 80s or early 90s. Virtually all use a walking aid and have sight and or hearing impairment. The members live independently but can continue membership if moving to a residential home.