Young Again brings together older South Asian residents in Huddersfield. Jamil Akhtar, Treasurer of The Pakistan Huddersfield Association, reflects on their latest trip to Wales and the wider benefits of bringing people together.

"The Pakistan Association Huddersfield took a group of 53 older people and their carers facing social isolation on a coach day trip to Llandudno, North Wales in June 2022.

The Association is based at Thornton Lodge, Huddersfield, one of the most deprived parts of Kirklees. It ranks among the 10 per cent most deprived communities nationally. Our Young Again project funded by People’s Health Trust has been bringing local people together to get out and about and meet each other. All our activities and trips are free.

There are lots of barriers preventing people from getting out and meeting each other in the local area. There’s not a lot of green space around here, no parks for families, the houses are back to back terraced houses without front or back gardens, and as our members are older this doesn’t leave many accessible spaces for them to walk around.

We’ve also heard from our members that they can’t get into the town centre because if they don’t have a bus pass they can’t afford the fare. Unemployment and financial insecurity is a huge issue around here and this has stopped people going to other community groups that charge even a small fee for their services.

We decided on the trip to Llandudno because it’s one of the few seaside towns that’s flat and they have lots of benches so it’s really accessible for our members. Our disabled members can walk and sit down often which is really important. One older person told me he hasn’t been out for months because it was too painful but since the trip, he’s been out walking a mile every day.

Being able to get out and about together gives people the confidence to take that first step and they then feel more comfortable exploring the local area and keeping active. We also made sure that half of the people we took on the trip were women who very rarely go out by their own on these trips. Meeting the other women and fostering friendship will reduce isolation and improve their quality of life.

Another barrier some of our members face is being a carer. A lot of the women who came on the trip live really close to each other, but did not know each other as they are often at home due to their caring responsibilities.

Our next trip with the Trust funded project will be to Blackpool August which we’ll offer to a new group of people, so everyone gets the opportunity to go. We’re really hopeful we can continue offering these trips and services because we know the huge impact it has on people’s wellbeing.

People's Health Trust is currently funding The Pakistan Association Huddersfield for their Young Again - Thornton Lodge Older People’s Lunch and Social Club project (2021/22)

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