The Young Again project, run by Pakistan Association Huddersfield, promotes social awareness and integration in the local community for older South Asian people. Earlier this year, members visited London for a day out.
As traditional structures and family ties have loosened in recent years, many South Asian people living in the UK are building fewer social connections. Jamil Akhtar, project Treasurer, explained: “In our culture, it is expected that younger family members will look after and live with their elderly relatives. Nowadays, however, members of the younger generation often relocate for work, which can lead to a disconnect with their elderly relatives.”
Increasing social isolation experience by older members of the South Asian community can lead to significant physical and mental health issues. This project aims to address these challenges and enable members to gain independence, as well as a sense of purpose, by encouraging them to take an active part in the decision making processes.
Members come together each week to share food and socialise. The group also plan and take part in regular activities such as social media tutorials and a recent talk on Islamophobia.
Additionally, project members are involved with arranging trips to places around the UK. In October this year, 54 members travelled to London for a day out, which included a visit to the Houses of Parliament. Jamil Akhtar said: “It was great to see how many people expressed interest in this trip. Important tasks were shared between the members such as corresponding with the different venues, arranging transport and preparing food.”
Jamil added: “We set off on a bus from Huddersfield at around 5.30am and reached Parliament by 11am, where we were given a guided tour of the House of Commons. We were then introduced to the four Kirklees MPs at the time including Ms Thelma Walker MP for Colne Valley, where our centre is situated.
“Members had a chance to ask the MPs questions on a range of topics and local issues that are important to them including social care, the NHS, Universal Credit and funding for charities. MPs also remarked on it being the first time such a large group of older people from their constituencies had visited Parliament.”
Following the Q&A session, project members were invited to observe a parliamentary debate on Brexit from the gallery.
Project member, Mr Mohammad Saeed, said: "After the visit to Parliament, we also had a chance to explore London. We went on a boat ride, did some shopping in London and even had a chance to go on the London Eye!
“It was also great to be able to hang out together outside of the centre. The day definitely brought us closer as a group and I consider many of the members to be my close friends now. This trip was a once in a lifetime experience for me and other project members.”
Project members are planning further engagement activities and trips around the UK in the New Year.
The Young Again project is funded by People’s Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery Yorkshire and the Humber.
Click here to find out more about the project in our Annual Review case study.
To read more news from the Trust, click here.
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