Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
11:18 AM 9th December 2015

Active Older People

Bramley Elderly Action singers performing
Bramley Elderly Action singers performing
As the number of older people in society continues to increase, and social isolation is recognised as a major health risk, the need for older people to keep physically and mentally active has never been greater.

Bramley Elderly Action in West Leeds is just one example of the opportunities on offer to older people in some parts of Yorkshire.

"I think BEA is wonderful!
I don't know where we would be without BEA in our community ".
BEA member Kath
BEA is an independent charity, active since 1994, and one of the 38 'Neighbourhood Network Schemes' which support older people in localities throughout Leeds, where the local authority has recognised the value of such preventative health work.

BEA organises numerous activities and trips for its 1100 members, and also manages the Bramley Lawn social centre and a sister organisation OWLS (Older Wiser Local Seniors) which covers a neighbouring part of Leeds.

BEA's vision is a world where people aged 60 and above have the best possible quality of life and involvement within their communities. All their services and activities are aimed at helping older people remain fit, healthy, independent and involved for as long as they can.

o	Great intergenerational work at Raynville Primary School
o Great intergenerational work at Raynville Primary School

BEA members can take part in groups such as a craft group, where they can share their skills and develop new ones.

They can keep physically fit through tai chi, tea dances or gentle exercise, and can try out completely new things such as digital photography. There is support for people with more day to day activities by way of shopping trips, and information on a huge range of important topics.

"It's a big help for me. I really look forward to going.
I would not be able to carry things on my own".
BEA member Mavis, about the shopping trips
BEA also runs regular outings, both 'extra care trips' for people with reduced mobility or other issues which make it difficult for them to get out and about, and longer independent day trips for members who need less support.

They also offer a befriending service, both by visits and now on the phone, for people who are lonely and particularly for those who can't get out of the house.

Everything is geared to ensuring that people get opportunities to meet others and make new friends. For some these activities add great richness to their lives, while for others BEA is an essential lifeline.

Underlying this work is a desire to ensure that older people are recognised as valuable members of society and are fully involved in their communities. To this end BEA get involved in various community events, such as Bramley Carnival, and run activities where members work with local primary schoolchildren, to help bridge the gap between generations.

"BEA keeps me from going insane and looking at the same four walls".
BEA member David
As with so many charities BEA relies on dedicated volunteers to deliver much of its work - about 150 of them, in fact, who get involved in all aspects of the organisation, from helping with transport, fundraising, supporting admin in the office, or running groups, to being a board member responsible for the overall direction of the organisation.

BEA is particularly looking for new volunteer drivers, who play a crucial role in helping members get out and about.

The work of Bramley Elderly Action demonstrates that older people can remain active, independent and involved if they have the right support to do so. They can, and do, continue to play a valuable role in society.

BEA volunteers set off for an annual day trip
BEA volunteers set off for an annual day trip

Bramley Elderly Action -
If you are interested in being a volunteer driver for BEA, or in other volunteer roles, please phone Maureen on 0113 236 1644
If you or older relatives live in other parts of Leeds you can find details of your nearest Neighbourhood Network Scheme from Leeds Older People's Forum <>
AgeUK North Yorkshire <> has offices in Harrogate, Northallerton and Ripon.
There are also local Age UKs in many other towns and cities in Yorkshire

This article was written by Rob Cook of Bramley Elderly Action.