On Friday 1st December, I will be hosting an Older Persons Information Fair 10:30AM – 1:30PM in the Apex, Bury St Edmunds. Following the success of last year’s fair in Stowmarket, I am delighted to welcome the fair to Bury.
This free community event is a chance to meet with and talk to a selection of more than thirty excellent local service providers and community groups, connecting people with providers and ensuring that mature members of our community are aware of, and can access, beneficial support available.
Recent figures show more than a million older people may go over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. Isolation and loneliness is a growing issue and can, particularly, be felt acutely in rural areas like Suffolk.
The effect of this on the wellbeing of our community is something I am particularly concerned about; last year’s event demonstrated that providing more information about where help and advice is available, can have lasting benefits.
As well as showcasing representatives from our local public services, the fair will welcome a number of support networks.
For example, the Befriending Scheme; Suffolk Family Carers; Contact the Elderly; SSAFA – the armed forces support charity – and Our Special Friends, who specialise in the practical and emotional support of the human-animal bond for the benefit of those who are aged, vulnerable or socially isolated.
Suffolk Artlink will also be attending, to demonstrate and advocate how creative activities can improve the quality of life of people of all abilities.
A number of groups and schemes attending will be advocating keeping active in the same vein; One Life Suffolk’s ‘Step out in Suffolk’, Suffolk Sport’s ‘Fit Villages’ and Upbeat – a volunteer-led social exercise provider.
Rural residents often cite transport as being a key solution to unlocking other opportunities, so I have invited a number of community transport providers to attend to showcase and advise on services.
I also look forward to welcoming a wide range of health support providers, a number of adult learning groups and the Rural Coffee Caravan, who do an outstanding job connecting and enrichening communities and signposting services.
We had a great event in Stowmarket last year, where people learnt about the help they can get as well as the help they can give, through volunteering. The event in Bury is building on this success in order to connect even more people with services and activities that can contribute towards their happiness, health and wellbeing.
I encourage anyone interested or just passing by, to drop in for a coffee and conversation, to understand how together, we can better care for the needs of our community.