Older People ‘fertile ground’ for Friendships

Big thanks to Matt Kendall for sending us this report of a Near Neighbours project in Aston. If you have a story of a Near Neighbours activity or project we would love to feature it here

Aston Sports and Community Club’s (ASC) Near Neighbours Project is all about reclaiming Aston Park as a resource for the whole community, and while the majority of their activity is around sport and young people, this project is focused on work with the over 50s, a group often neglected in cohesion work locally.  ASC’s project includes a series of 6 events where local older people from different faiths are brought together around shared interests and activities in spaces in and around Aston Park in order to build lasting relationships and friendships.  Matt Kendall, a Director of ASC, and the project lead explains, “Older people are often the hub of their families, and we believe by building relationships here, when often there hasn’t previously been any work on building cross community understanding, we can make a real difference to both those directly involved, but also their families.”

The first event in the series was a tour of recently revitalised and restored Aston Hall, a beautiful Jacobean stately home in the heart of Aston, which has struggled to attract local visitors, drawing instead from the suburbs of the city.  With the cooperation and support of the Hall’s excellent staff, the group of 38 older people from Aston, enjoyed tea and cake together, followed by some directed work in groups around active listening and sharing of each other’s stories of their own memories of Aston, and how they arrived there.  Once the hard work was done, the group left on 2 guided tours of the hall, one of which was bi-lingual in Urdu, for the next 30 minutes.

From the signing in records, it was estimated that 21 churchgoers attended, 15 from mosques and 2 further of no affiliation.  Feedback from the participants was first class, the organisers being thanked profusely, and ASC’s belief that working with this group was sowing on fertile soil was upheld.  ASC believes that this is just the start of positive relationships, and we are looking forward to our next event, which is a partnership with local churches and groups for a Jubilee Big Lunch in Aston Park on Sunday 3rd June – watch this space for more detail.

If you want to know more about ASC’s work with older people do contact Matt by e-mail at info@astonsportsclub.com or visit the website.


Birmingham, Family involvement, Interfaith, Meeting People, Stories of Encounters

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