Holbeck Elderly Aid (HEA) transformed the St Matthew’s Centre in Holbeck into a bustling vibrant open day showcasing the diverse and good work they do within the local community.
Although there are too many to name individually within the sea of people, there were various pockets of people eager to show what they do from the very calm wellbeing services to the dynamic dance demonstrations.
Matthew Springthorpe, who organised the day explained that HEA has a lot to offer the community. Perhaps most importantly of all they offer a lifeline to those who need it through their volunteers, they visit people in their homes or offer a listening ear over the phone. Volunteers are always sought after and even an hour or two out of your week could change to quality of life of older people in the surrounding area.
HEA were delighted be joined by Leeds Community Foundation for a few hours as part of their community engagement day. They brought along over 30 local business people who are interested in giving back to the community, to spread the word about community projects and organisations such as HEA. It was great to see how involved everyone was. The visitors joined in with table tennis, the chair-based exercises and sharing a cuppa and a natter with local residents. It was great to see everyone coming together, meeting new people and having fun.
Alison Leason reminded me of the importance of looking after the most vulnerable people in society and discussed her work with carers and those with conditions such as dementia.
Carers can easily be overlooked and burn out quickly, but with the support of people such as Alison they can access services to ensure their wellbeing is maintained and they are supported.
Anyone concerned that they might have dementia or have already been diagnosed can access services to help signpost them to relevant groups and services, or just have a good conversation about any concerns they might have.
As well as their outreach into the community HEA organises many trips out and about and there is a packed schedule of day trips on offer including a trip to the Donkey Sanctuary and Temple Newsham Farm later in the year. Most have transport offered so please don’t let this be a barrier to you joining them!
Socially there are many groups to get involved in including a singing group. At the event I was met with some lovely ladies who explained they sing a variety of songs from Tom Jones to Pennies from Heaven and have had a CD compiled to showcase their singing.
Alongside this there was a demonstration from the craft group who showed me the fruits of their hard work, they have recently finished a series of pillowcases showing various places in Holbeck and a number of poppies there are making for the Remembrance Services later in the year. They were keen to let me know that adults of any age are welcome to attend their groups and to just get in touch if you’re interested.
Skippco have been working hard to teach local people how to use their cameras to a professional standard and the hard work has paid off. A variety of beautiful pictures were displayed showcasing the local area and small pockets where you might not usually tread. For example, inside a local mechanics shop. Skippco are running a 20 week long programme and are aiming to compile a showcase of their work at the end of it.
As well as the established services they offer, HEA has also started a community project designed to help improve the health and wellbeing of local people.
I met with Ann and Amorine who talked me through the benefits of aromatherapy and the diverse uses of essential oils.
The duo have already held events including a curry night and fitness run and hope to expand their reach into the community and offer services such as bath bomb making, a film club and much more.
Health and wellbeing is important especially within Holbeck and to ensure there are no barriers to accessing their sessions they are looking into offering a creche facility and holding the events on an evening or weekend so if you’re over 16 watch this space!
After a short address from Hillary Benn MP, Patron of HEA, volunteers from SC Johnson helped to provide refreshments and a light lunch to everyone who attended.
If you’re interested in volunteering or know someone who might benefit from the services offered get in touch with HEA directly on (0113) 245 5553 who will be able to signpost you to the relevant service.