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Idlewells’ Games Club creates safe space to socialise in partnership with Age UK

Idlewells’ Games Club creates safe space to socialise in partnership with Age UK

Sutton-in-Ashfield-based shopping centre Idlewells has launched its new in-centre Games Club in partnership with Age UK - giving those who need it the chance to meet and interact with new people in the local area.

The club runs bi-weekly in a dedicated area of the centre and is designed to create a safe space for people to meet and play classic board games such as monopoly, dominoes and cards.

Created in partnership with Age UK, the initiative is primarily aimed at those over 60, but is an inclusive event which can be attended by people of all ages. The initiative was conceived following the national lockdowns experienced during the pandemic - when many people were forced to stay at home alone with little or no social interaction or engagement.The first Games Club event was held on Monday 20th September and proved to be a huge success with those who attended.

For Chloe O’Donnell, Centre Manager at Idlewells, regular events such as the Games Club are vital for those who perhaps live alone or have become apprehensive about meeting people following the events of the past 18 months.“I think coronavirus really shone a spotlight on those who live alone and perhaps don’t have regular social contact or rely on being able to get out and about in order to meet and engage with others,”“No one should feel alone,” explains Chloe. “Sutton-in-Ashfield is a very close community and we wanted to make sure that residents knew that if they wanted a few hours every couple of weeks where they could have fun and meet people, then they could come to us,”“We’re a community-focused centre that cares about its residents and our Games Club is open to anyone who needs it.”Deborah Hughes, Connect Coordinator at Age UK, has received glowing feedback about the Games Club and is grateful to Idlewells for hosting such an important event at a time when many people need it more than ever before.“Some of those who attended the first Games Club said it was the first time they had been able to have a conversation since lockdown and felt valued, happy and lifted, as a result” explains Deborah. 

“We even had children from Sutton Academy who were also really interested in the club. One of them really likes to play chess but had no-one to partner with, while another said that he would like to come after school with his mum because he hopes that she might be able to make some new friends from it,” 

“It’s this kind of community spirit that makes the initiative worthwhile because it is making a real difference to people’s lives. It’s not a lot, but it means the world to those who can come along, play some games and chat to others in a safe and inclusive environment.

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