Bringing people together for fun and friendship

Published on: 30 Jun 2013

CALLING all retired and older people – this is your chance to get involved in shaping activities in our area for you and your peers.

Downend has a large proportion of older residents and a number of groups and clubs cater for many needs.

But it is not always easy to find out exactly what is going on, or to have the confidence to join a new organisation.

It can be especially difficult for those who find themselves widowed after a long marriage or alone after a lifetime at work.

Now Downend Voice is teaming up with Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council and South Gloucestershire Council’s community engagement team to try to improve the situation.

We are asking you to let the authorities know what activities you already participate in and what you might like to do if it was available locally.

Martyn Poole, of the parish council, and Sue Jaques, from South Gloucestershire, are spearheading the initiative, which we are calling Downend Connect.

The plan is to collect the information over the summer. Please ring 01454 862356 and leave a message or email

Everyone who gets in touch will be contacted personally and invited to an event on September 11 which will bring together all the agencies that have contact with retired people and the local groups offering activities. It will be hosted by the Hanover Housing Association at its Badminton Gardens development in Beaufort Road from 3-6pm and will be open to anyone interested.

Mrs Jaques said: “We are so pleased to have been offered this venue. Hanover are keen to be a hub for community activity and welcome people from the neighbourhood to use their facilities.”

Mr Poole said: “We hope our taster day will be a bit like the freshers’ fairs where universities tell new students what is on offer, except that it will be showing older people what is provided for them.”

Downend Voice already lists activities for all ages on our What’s On pages, but we will also provide a focal point for regularly updated Downend Connect information.

The organisers stress that if there is something that a number of people would like to take part in that is not currently provided, they will look at laying it on.

“It is a very exciting project,” said Mr Poole. “I am sure that are lots of people who are retired who have time on their hands and would like to try something new in the company of others. This could really bring people together.”

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