Published: 1 October 2021
As part of a programme of exciting events taking place across the country, the talented singers were accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr The Lady Flight who is founder of Silver Sunday and The Leader of Westminster City Council, Rachael Robathan.
The group visited care homes and day centres for older residents across Westminster where singer Lucy delivered renditions of well-known classics including “The White Cliffs of Dover” and “It’s A Long Way to Tipperary” before residents, and care home staff, were thanked and celebrated for their contribution to the community. At one visit, the group were also joined by children from local St Barnabas Primary School who put on a stunning performance.
Care home manager, Safiya Sheikh-Ibrahim from Garside House Nursing Home said:
Our residents and team had a wonderful celebration. They absolutely loved welcoming our special guests along and listening to the wonderful music. What a special day!
Cllr Flight, Older People’s Champion at Westminster City Council, said:
Today has been truly magnificent seeing our residents enjoy themselves. The last 19 months have been incredibly tough for older people in our community for whom social isolation and loneliness inevitably increased. I’m so glad that this year we are able to put on an extensive programme of in-person events in Westminster, the very borough where Silver Sunday started and I hope our older residents have a fantastic time.
Levels of loneliness in the UK have increased since the Covid-19 pandemic. For older people, who may have already been suffering from loneliness and isolation, the pandemic has been especially difficult. Increasing levels of anxiety amongst older people and a fear of going outside is a common theme. A study by Age UK showed that 34% of older people reported feeling more anxious since the start of the pandemic. Furthermore, the Office for National Statistics found that two in five (39%) over 70s said they felt unsafe or very unsafe when outside of their home, due to the pandemic.
Silver Sunday, founded by Cllr Flight and Westminster charity, the Sir Simon Milton Foundation is a national annual day of fun and free activities for older people across the UK. It celebrates the value and knowledge that older people contribute to our communities while combating loneliness and isolation. Everyone can get involved, of all generations, whether that’s organising an event, spreading the word, attending an activity or simply doing something kind for older people.
The campaign’s celebrations in 2020 were heavily constrained by the pandemic restrictions but this year, it has a full programme of exciting activities. In Westminster, activities include a tour of Hyde Park barracks, a dog show at Paddington Recreation Ground, visits to care homes by members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment as well as walking tours, afternoon teas and dancing.
Silver Sunday is an exemplar of how we can play our part, as neighbours, relatives, friends, employers and volunteers to help tackle loneliness.