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Barge on the canal
Barge on the canal

Reducing isolation among older people

The Monday Club is a well-established local group that provides a valuable opportunity for the residents of the Craiginn Court supported housing complex in Blackridge to meet socially.

Blackridge Community Fund has provided a series of grants to support trips and excursions which members could not afford. These trips have complemented the regular local meetings that members fund themselves through small contributions.

The complex provides ‘amenity housing’ for older people (rather than sheltered accommodation), so apart from a small communal garden, it doesn’t have any shared spaces where residents can gather. The Monday Club was set up in early 2004 after a resident had suggested a Christmas dinner would help residents get to one know another better. There was a groundswell of support for the idea as people quickly realised the benefits of a group that would encourage more regular interaction between older members of the community. The Monday Club became an important opportunity to meet up in the local community centre, providing the comfort and reassurance of a weekly shared meal (members bring their own lunch/food) and a blether with fellow residents. Typically, around 10 people would attend each week.

In June 2017, a grant of £632 from Blackridge Community Fund supported a series of summer excursions; and in May 2018 a grant of £432 enabled 20 members of the club and two carers to embark on a coach trip to Ratho and a barge journey with afternoon tea along the Union Canal. And in September 2019, a grant of £1,158 enabled 36 elderly Blackridge residents to have an outing to a Christmas panto, enjoy a Christmas lunch, and purchase new games to use throughout the year.

These excursions have increased the group’s vibrancy and attracted more elderly people to join. The Club now regularly attracts around 30 older people, including a number living elsewhere in Blackridge. It has now become an important channel for reducing isolation, with outside guests invited to come along and share information about other services and support available. At other times, visitors will come to the group and entertain residents with presentations or performances. 

The Monday Club experience shows how relatively small grants can make a meaningful difference to the lives of local residents.