The Tuesday Club provides an opportunity for elderly people in the Fairview/Marino area of Dublin who may have difficulty getting out and about to meet with friends and neighbours and take part in gentle exercise and other activities that support their health and wellbeing. Sr Margaret Ivers and other members of the Fairview and Marino Parishes have been instrumental in setting up and running the Tuesday Club, which operates entirely with the support of local volunteers.
We currently have over 50 members, the majority of whom are over 80 years of age. About 35 members attend each week.
The establishment of the Tuesday Club in 2014 was the culmination of a process that began in 2006 when a group of people living and working in Fairview/Marino, who had strong connections with elderly people and carers in the area, came together as the Casino Community Forum. With support from the HSE and the Northside Partnership Company, the Social Policy and Aging Research Centre (SPARC) in Trinity College was commissioned to research the perceptions of older people and formal and informal service and care providers on the availability of social, health and care services for elderly people in the area. The research data, subsequently confirmed by the 2011 Census results, shows that the area has one of the highest proportions of older people aged over 70 years in the country. Given the age profile and high levels of dependency, the absence of a day centre in the area was a particular issue of concern and the establishment of such a centre where people could access social and healthcare services was the key recommendation in the report.
The Tuesday Club is making a significant contribution to the wellbeing of both members and volunteers. The Club meets from 2.00pm-4.30pm each Tuesday afternoon. The Tuesday Club is largely self-financing, mainly funded through a weekly subscription from members. Grants and donations have also been received from the Croke Park Community Fund, Dublin City Council and the Sisters of Charity.
General activities at the club vary from week to week and include live music, table quizzes, bingo and crafts. Information sessions on services and supports for older people are also provided. An annual summer outing and Christmas party also take place.
Over 40 people in the community volunteer to support the Club. This includes a team of volunteer drivers who provide lifts for members, while others are involved in managing the club, leading and helping members with various activities and providing refreshments.
In February 2016 an informal consultation was organised with sixteen club members. The aim of this consultation was to get some feedback from them about whether and why they enjoy participating in the club. Amongst the replies are the following:
‘Tuesday is my happy day. I love coming up here.’
‘Well, it’s something to look forward to every week ……………..And when I come home I’m a new woman.’
‘My wife died last year and coming here was the best thing I ever did.’
‘I never miss a week ……..I like the sing-song.’
‘I found the people were lovely and very welcoming when you came in …….I like mixing with people.’
‘Oh I love coming here. I look forward to it from one end of the week to another …….It’s the homeliness of it. And not alone that, but the committee are marvellous.’
‘It takes you out of yourself ……I enjoy it and then to get out and have the lovely entertainment and the cuppa ………….’
‘We have different things every week – the bingo and the singing.’
‘It breaks the monotony of the day and they always have some kind of action going on – music or a play, something like that which is an interest.’
Margaret Ivers RSC