You know an event has been popular when they run out of cake! This was the case at the recent Ageing Well Festival held in the gorgeous Lupton House and grounds which was impressively well attended.
The annual event is run by Ageing Well Torbay, a Big Lottery funded six-year project aiming to reduce social isolation in the over 50s. Their year-round work, delivered by a group of partners including Torbay Community Development Trust, Age UK and other local care services, as well as a team of Community Builders, is celebrated each year at this event, where the organisations aims to involve, enable, reconnect and strengthen Torbay’s ageing community are met.
The festival has grown substantially each year and it is perhaps fair to say that it grew beyond the team’s anticipations this year. To say the day was well-supported would be an understatement, with Lupton House absolutely packed with guests. A marquee attached to rear of the house for the purpose of hosting lunch and the days musical entertainment, though huge, was still not big enough; the dance floor filled for the 1960s Dance Class and Sandy Sparkle had no shortage of accompaniment as she sang the 60’s throughout the day. Perhaps, if we were able to put more faith in the British weather towards late September, more of the events programme, such as the local stalls and information displays in the Ballroom, could have been moved outside into the spacious grounds.
The diversity of the festival is undoubtedly its best feature. Practical workshops offering legal advice and support form a big a part of the day, but these are balanced with more adventurous Bollywood dance classes, ukulele workshops and tai chi. Musical and theatrical performances took place across the site throughout, with the effervescent South Devon Players brightening up every corner with their hippy regalia and floral offerings. Most importantly though, the social opportunities the day offered were great to see, with plenty of spaces to sit and meet and chat.
All of the above was made possible on the day by a vast team of volunteers. We played our small part in this, but the majority committed far more hours than ourselves to ensure the event ran smoothly.
With one of the largest ageing populations in the country, the need for the work of this organisation is clear to see. The annual festival is the jewel in the crown but it would be great to see more intermediate events, such as the Symposium of Ideas held in May this year, to support it. In the knowledge that its following continues to grow year on year, I feel sure that Ageing Well will continue to deliver exciting projects for its community, with better provision for the greater and greater numbers that they are so successfully engaging.
Artizan Gallery supported the Ageing Well Festival’s 2017 Christmas Card Competition, taking entries and assisting in the judging process and delivery. We have a continued commitment to working with the team here and providing cultural opportunities for their community.