Silver Sunday is the national day for older people and takes place this year on 3 October. It is a special day in the national calendar, when everyone can come together to put older people at the heart of their community.
It started as a response to social isolation and loneliness among our older population. The aim was to galvanise community action to do something about it.
Now, Silver Sunday’s fun and free events for older people help them to meet new people, visit new places, try new activities, connect with their local communities and with younger generations around them.
In 2019, tens of thousands of older people attended more than 1,200 free events nationwide including tai chi, concerts, walks, sports, dance classes and tea parties. Wiltshire Council used its ‘Silver Sunday in Salisbury’ as the catalyst for further projects, including a three-year intergenerational project in the city.
The last year has been grim, especially for older people. But despite all the pandemic restrictions in place, we still had hundreds of events take place in 2020, many virtually.
We were particularly delighted to have the enthusiastic support of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who said: “As a member of Silver Sunday’s target audience, I can honestly say that it is a completely brilliant initiative!”
Our ambition for 2021, COVID-19 notwithstanding, is to double the 2019 success and I am asking for your help in achieving this.
Much of the growth and success of Silver Sunday since it began in 2012 has been thanks to the wonderful energy and ambition shown by local councillors and officers. We would love it if you could join the many local authorities already involved this year.
Here are a few thoughts on how you can help – I’m sure you can think of many more:
- Encourage businesses, charities, community groups and volunteers within your local area to get behind Silver Sunday and organise or host events. Councils are great convenors for these sorts of events, pulling the public, private and voluntary sectors together in your communities for one common purpose.
- Host events yourselves for older people on or around 3 October. Here in Westminster, the council supports the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, a local charity of which I am a trustee, to run an annual tea dance for 1,000 older residents.
- Signpost older people to Silver Sunday events and activities in your area. Most councils will do this already, but Silver Sunday offers an opportunity to shout a little louder about the many great things taking place in support of your older residents. For many who already work with older people, this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase what they do all year round.
- Encourage younger generations to get involved. We love involving schools and uniformed youth organisations in our local events. Did you know, for example, that the Scouts have a ‘Silver Sunday’ badge that they can earn?
Do visit our website, www.silversunday.org.uk, and follow us on Twitter @SilverSundayUK for ideas, inspiration and resources, including our ‘Guide for local authorities’.
After the year that we have all had, especially older people, it is time to offer them something to look forward to and raise their spirits.