The Forgotten Folks project was funded by Comic Relief. It incorporated fun workshops that used elements of African arts and culture to break down the social isolation and health problems usually faced by elderly people.
From the pilot and consequent focus group we conducted for this project, we found isolation to be a serious concern for elderly people in Newham. To address the need, we designed a combination of activities based around African arts and culture e.g. group music-making, dancing, singing, chanting, arts and crafts as a means of encouraging elderly people to engage in gentle exercise and to be more active within the community.
The activities took place in five areas in Newham. By doing this, we kept the activities local enough that older people could get to them easily, but it also got them to a central place where they could interact with new people.
Please click here to view our Forgotten Folks Video.
Feedback from Workshops
“As a voluntary helper for this project I found it ever so exhilarating for both the body and mind, I feel that I could teach my grandchildren to dance also in which I do. Please continue the project, all the people that I know in which they took part will also miss this.”
Elsie Smith, Forgotten Folks Volunteer & Champion
"Nice to do this activity. It enhances flexibility with stiff hands. It is great for meeting new friends and it helps one to get away from loneliness. I must thank you for the great exercise routine, dance and drumming. It has helped my arthritis…"
Basil De Sousa (Clay Modelling/Drumming)
"It is a great activity, it brings back childhood memory and is quite mind relaxing."
Phyliss Grant (Clay Modelling)
"I only popped in to the centre and ended up staying the whole session because I enjoyed it so much. The dancing helped my aches and pains."
"By taking part in the IROKO and other exercises I feel so much healthier in myself. I can interact with many different people of different nationalities. This also helped my coordination by drumming and clapping and singing all together."
Participant (Drumming Session)
"Before attending the exercise classes I often visited my doctor about aches and pains. Now I am up and about every day. I am 70 years old and I don’t feel my age anymore. I feel much younger. Hope it continues after these initial sessions."
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