Activities for adults in their local South Gloucestershire community
South Gloucestershire is a vibrant place with many groups, activities and things to do. For some people however, getting out of the house can be difficult. It can also be easy to lose confidence, perhaps as a result of ill health, disability or bereavement.
If you would you like to have more contact with people in your community, or you know someone who would benefit from more contact, you can find out what is available in South Gloucestershire including how to access additional support.
Note that during coronavirus (Covid-19) some of the activities described below may be affected. Please contact the individual organiser or provider for more details.
- First steps
- Activities, support and groups in your community
- Accessible holidays
- Additional support
Small acts of kindness can make a big difference. Smiling, waving or speaking to a neighbour can help them to feel brighter or less isolated.
Evidence shows that the actions we take and the way we think have the biggest impact on our wellbeing. The first step is to connect with the people around you, like your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. This can help you stay healthy and independent.
It can be difficult to take the first step towards becoming more involved with the community around you, particularly if you have lost confidence. It only gets harder the longer you put it off and this can lead to feelings of loneliness.
Feeling lonely or isolated can be short lived, or it can become a longer term emotion. People who feel lonely may find it hard to talk about it, as they feel it is something they should not admit to. Thinking positively about doing something to help yourself and not blaming yourself are steps to feeling less lonely. Feeling lonely is a normal emotion that is simply a sign of wanting contact with people.
If you think you are feeling lonely, why not try any of the following:
Acknowledge that you are lonely - if you have been feeling lonely for a while, the first step is to notice and identify this, even if just to yourself, so you can think about what you could do to help yourself.
Reach out - if you would like to spend more time with your friends or family, let them know. Quite often you may assume that people do not want to visit you. This is understandable, but often people will respond to an invitation and will come and spend quality time with you.
Look after yourself - you can do something to improve your health, for example taking small steps to eat well, take gentle exercise and keep active. All of these things can help you feel more positive and enjoy your own company. You can read more below under ‘Additional support’ .
Share your skills and time with others - offer your time or specific skills by helping out in your street, neighbourhood or with local organisations. You can read more about this below under ‘Volunteering’ .
Get out and about - There is a lot going on in every community that anybody can join, depending upon your particular interests. You can read ‘Activities, support and groups in your local area’ below for more information and ideas.
Wellaware is a website and telephone service that provides information on local groups and activities in South Gloucestershire. Visit the site and enter your postcode to search for local groups. You can also phone them for free on 0808 808 5252.
Activities such as walks, singing groups, book or friendship clubs can offer gentle exercise and a regular social event to look forward to. Sometimes people worry about going along to something new for the first time, but groups are usually very welcoming of new members.
If you are over the age of 60, there are often discounts available for entertainment activities, such as going to the cinema or theatre. Which? Have more details on their website, including which national chains offer such schemes.
Local community transport organisations may be able to help you to get to activities, and also offer a programme of interesting trips and outings. I f you live in the Yate area, Shopmobility can also support you to get around the centre of Yate safely.
Below is a selection of activities that could help you feel more involved in your community:
Befriending services are available from Age UK, where a volunteer can visit you on an ongoing basis to offer support, company and conversation. This often happens in your home but can also include trips outside the home.
Bromford (formerly Merlin Housing Society) has a range of properties across South Gloucestershire, including sheltered housing. Bromford run a programme of events and activities for people, whether they live in a Bromford property or not. For more information visit the Bromford website or call 0330 1234 034. Bromford also offer a reducing isolation referral service for people who need some one-to-one support to take part again in activities. Staff work with people aged 55 and over for up to three months, to support people to meet new friends, pursue interests and hobbies and to join in with local activities and groups.
If you are looking for some socialising and gentle exercise, why not try a weekly Friendship Club. Telephone 01454 862296 for more information.
The University of the Third Age (U3a) is a nationwide social and educational organisation aimed at those over 55 who want to keep active both mentally and physically. U3A offer a wealth of activities suiting a range of interests and have local groups in Thornbury, Yate and Chipping Sodbury, and Bristol.
Active for Life 60+ is a very wide range of fitness activities organised through the leisure centres at Thornbury, Yate, Kingswood and Longwell Green.
South Gloucestershire’s Stroke Café offers support, conversation and informal get-togethers for people who have suffered a stroke together with their carers.
Stroke conversation groups - many people who are recovering from a stroke feel isolated and frustrated that their speech has been affected and they are unable to communicate as they used to. These community-based conversation groups help people regain their confidence in using their speech in everyday social situations. The group meets once a week to talk about a wide range of topics from current affairs, the latest “gossip”, to group members’ interests. As a social group, members are able to share experiences at their own pace, in a supportive environment while making new friends and having fun.
Monthly dementia cafés are a great opportunity to meet other people living with dementia and their carers. You can socialise with other people who understand your current situation, get advice, guidance and information as well as an opportunity to speak with professionals in a more relaxed environment.
Brain Tumour Support is a national charity headquartered in Thornbury offering support to anyone affected by a brain tumour, including patients and their friends and family. The charity also offers free to attend support groups. For details of the South Gloucestershire support group, as well as your local Brain Tumour Support worker visit their website: https://www.braintumoursupport.co.uk/
Little Stoke Friendship and Activity Group runs on Monday mornings in 10 week blocks with a two week break. Activities include table tennis, bowls, and gentle chair exercises. For further details contact the Alzheimer’s Society on 0117 9610693 or email SouthGloucestershire@alzheimers.org.uk
Choices 4 U are a team which supports adults with learning difficulties to access community and leisure opportunities that promote independence and control. They use the facilities at Kingswood and Yate Leisure Centre. Some activities take place in the gym, swimming pool and sports hall, while other activities take place elsewhere.
Leisure and sports activities for adults with learning difficulties (LAAD). Visit Bristol Union of Disability Sports and South Gloucestershire Union of Disability Sports (Buds and Suds) for more information.
Becoming a volunteer and offering your precious time can make a big difference, both to yourself and your community.
Everybody has something that they can offer; the gift of time is important to everyone, and a small amount of time goes a long way when volunteering. You could make a huge difference to someone’s life and help them to play an active part in their community, share news and views and help them stay positive and healthy.
There are many ways to volunteer, listed below are just some of the things you could do. As a volunteer you could also offer practical support to those who need it most, this might include:
- household help such as changing a light bulb, hanging a picture, or putting the rubbish out
- gardening, such as cutting the grass or weeding
- offering some company
- practical help collecting prescriptions, running errands, or with filling in forms
- helping with transport such as giving them lifts to appointments
You can also turn free time into useful time by volunteering at a local library. Volunteering opportunities include providing IT support to help users gain skills (such as using the internet or sending email), or delivering library books to older people living in their own homes or in care homes to help them continue their love of books and offering them the stimulation of reading.
Volunteering will also help you:
- keep an active mind and body
- gain confidence
- make a difference in your community
- make new friends
- take on new challenges
- improve your own wellbeing, health and happiness
- share your experiences
- discover new skills
Your local volunteering centre can help you find the right opportunity . Even if you are unable to leave your home there are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer.
The NHS website contains information about the ways you can do your bit to help lonely or socially isolated elderly people in your community, including during the winter season when older people can be particularly vulnerable.
Watch our short video about volunteering for inspiration and see how it can really make a difference.
To find out more about volunteering, making your organisation more welcoming, or setting up a neighbours network in your local area, read our article supporting your community.
If you would like to travel a little further afield there are many holiday companies who offer options and assistance for travellers with mobility issues or a disability.
It is against the law for anyone to be excluded from a holiday opportunity simply because they have a disability. There are often lots of holiday options to support you: from wheelchair-friendly hotels and resorts, to specially adapted car hire and transfers. Before you book, you must always inform the travel agent, tour operator, airport or airline about any disabilities or requirements you or your family may have, to ensure that the prospective holiday is suitable for you. Check with your holiday provider or operator what support they provide. Many providers have this information on their websites.
Hft is a national charity that supports people to live with independence, choice, and with all the support they need. They have produced a Holiday Information Guide to help people with learning disabilities and those closest to them choose an accessible, disability-friendly holiday. The guide is available for free online, or by post.
Matching Houses is a holiday house swap website that allows disabled people or families with disabled children to swap houses with others who have the same accessibility needs for a holiday or short break.
Motability.co.uk publish a Rough Guide to Accessible Britain which is available for free on their website. It contains reviews of accessible and inspiring days out, and aims to inspire and support people with diverse needs in enjoying the best of Britain’s attractions – whatever their disability. Sections are arranged by region, making it easy to find something wherever in the UK you are visiting.
Tourism for All (TFA) is an independent national charity supporting accessible tourism and travel in the UK. The TFA website has a travel planner website which offers information on accessible travel in the UK, including news and ideas about accessible travel, information on accessible destinations and attractions, and online booking of accessible accommodation.
You can also read about special assistance available when getting to the airport in the article Public transport options.
Age UK’s website also contains additional information about booking accessible holidays, including what questions to ask before you book, and tips for those travelling with a wheelchair, limited mobility or a disability. They also provide a range of travel guides for older people.
Maintaining your physical and mental health is extremely important and brings many benefits.
Speak to a health worker if you feel very lonely, as long term loneliness could contribute to later depression and other health problems. Your GP should be able to direct you to local services.
You can read more about mental health and emotional wellbeing support available for adults locally on One You South Gloucestershire.
There are many other national organisations which provide sources of support for older people or those with disabilities:
- Age UK –the country's leading charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life
- Alzheimer’s Society – the Alzheimer’s Society provides advice and support to people with dementia and their carers
- Re-Engage – seeks to reduce the isolation of older people who live alone, by providing social occasions such as monthly tea parties
- Dementia Research Group – one of the UK’s leading centres for clinical research into dementia.
- Independent Age – a charity that provides lifelong support to older people on very low incomes.
- AbilityNet – a charity that offers advice to people with disabilities on all aspects of computer usage for employment, communication, education, or just for fun.
- Disabled Information Advice Line (DIAL) UK – DIAL provides a link to information for people with disabilities, and to advice providers.
- Disability Sport England – creates opportunities for participation in sport for people with all disabilities.
- Epilepsy Action (British Epilepsy Association) – the Epilepsy Action helpline provides advice and information on all aspects of living with epilepsy. It aims to reply to helpline queries by email within 48 hours.
- Headway – promotes understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provides information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their family and carers.
- MENCAP – working with people with a learning disability, and their families and carers.
- Rethink – helping everyone affected by severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, to recover a better quality of life.
- National Society for Epilepsy (NSE) – the largest UK medical charity for epilepsy. The website offers information about epilepsy and about the NSE, frequently asked questions, personal accounts of living with epilepsy, a message board and more.
- Royal Association in Aid of Deaf people (RAD) – strives to meet the individual needs of deaf children and adults and deafblind people through the provision of services and the use of RAD Centres for deaf people.
- Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) – if you need to register as blind, contact the RNIB.
- Scope – helps people with cerebral palsy to achieve equality in society.
- Revitalise – provides respite for carers and holidays for people with severe physical disabilities.
- Vision West of England - The service will support visually impaired people to live independently within their own homes. Providing a ‘one stop shop service’ to people, which delivers early access to the expert support and advice they need, to enable them to come to terms with their loss of their sight and ongoing support, to enable them to continue to live independently for longer by providing rehabilitation services.
- Marmalade Trust - dedicated to recognising loneliness across society and helping people to make new friendships
- Macmillan help people with cancer live life as fully as they can, whether it is help paying bills, advice on benefits or treatment, or just want to chat. They also offer free face to face support and information in your local community via their mobile information support service
- Cinnamon Trust provides peace of mind and practical help for people who own pets. Their network of volunteers provide practical help when any aspect of day to day care poses a problem – for example, walking the dog for a housebound owner. A national fostering service is also provided for pets whose owners face a spell in hospital.
Share the difference a smile, kind word or action has made to you. Post on South Gloucestershire Council’s Facebook page, or tweet @sgloscouncil with #SmileSouthGlos.