Care… Worth a Conversation
We are the Trafford African Caribbean over 50s Club (TAC).
Established in 1997, we meet one to three days a week (funding permitting) for a social over lunch.
Our ‘day’ has evolved from a luncheon club which includes weekly exercise (keep fit, Soca Aerobics, Chair Zumba), singing for fun, bingo, dominoes, and information exchange, to hosting health and social care seminars, and now we proudly add our new research hub.
Like any pensioner club our members come from all walks of life including:
Engineers, Cleaners, Nursing Sisters, Factory Packers, Soldiers, Dinner Ladies, Footballers, Cricketers, Police Officers, Homemakers, Management Consultants, Bus Drivers – to name but a few.
I often forget this wealth of knowledge and experience as I try (in vain) to tell them what to do. An example being my initial attempt to get their buy-in on this project.
A glimpse of our “preparations”……. I introduced the project with great excitement.
“We’ve got more funding” (that’s great news!)
“We are going to be setting up a Think Tank (ooh – that’s nice!)
“Our name is going to go National” ( well done!)
“We all need to get involved – this project could be really good for TAC” (vague nods around the room)
“You will be listened to for once” (Smiles of Irony/Disbelief…)
“Erm… now we will need a few volunteers for our first consultations. Who
would like to be involved?” (Initial silence, followed by: “Have you finished yet? Bingo’s running late!)
“Are you really telling me no one’s interested in joining the think tank? (We’ll get back to you later …..if anyone’s interested)
“It needs to be now as there is a very tight timeline”
(“Later …later….eyes down ladies and gents unless you want to be here all night….eyes down please everyone…)
“excuse me I’m not done yet” (… eyes down people. Eyes down!!!)
Moved on by our bingo caller I went away feeling a little demoralised. I mean – I had so far recruited only one person from the group (my mum)! Not deterred, I tried again with a different approach a couple of weeks later.
“I need your help – you know what these funders are like. You need to work for the money”
“Is anyone thinking of moving to sheltered home? “ (not at the moment)
“A housing project offering support to the elderly?” (no response)
“Does anyone here know anything about Community Care?“ (A few hands raised)
“Anyone getting support or care help from the Council?“ (similar number of hands raised)
“Is anyone of you a CARER? (“Oh God! We are all Carers!”)
We have a start.
The conversation we need begins. We have since held briefing meetings, mapped out some of our engagement plans, attended CDF Training and worked with our relationship manager in readiness and made contact with Care Providers in the Trafford area who are keen to be involved.
So with now over a hundred club members behind me we are embarking on establishing a Care Think Tank. Exploring the whole Care Agenda and then influencing this Agenda through our on the ground insight and engaging professional care sector on how we should be cared for. You can watch with interest as we progress to THE PLAN, however, joining the think tank is by our invitation….as we’re kinda full.