Over 40 people joined us in celebrating the re-opening of the Jubilee Centre on Friday 1 October, which was the International Day of Older Persons.
Visitors included Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Edgar Hill, who said: ’I’ve immensely enjoyed today. It has been lovely to meet so many of you and to hear about all of the wonderful facilities which are available to help with dietary requirements, exercises and home help.’
Stella Nash, Executive Member for Adult Care, Health & Wellbeing at the County Council, also attended. ‘It’s wonderful to see people coming together again after the pandemic.’ She said. ‘The Jubilee Centre is a great help to residents, as social inclusion is so important to helping us all age well. The work that HILS continued to do throughout the Covid response was tremendous, and we’re so thankful to all the staff and volunteers.’
The Jubilee Centre is also used by a variety of local groups and sports clubs, as well as hosting a daily lunch club for older people, and a dementia fun club. Throughout the pandemic, community centres and other local leisure groups were forced to close their doors, leaving many older people in particular feeling isolated and lonely. Maureen used to attend the Jubilee Centre lunch club regularly before the pandemic and was very pleased to be able to meet up with her friends over lunch once again. ‘I really enjoyed meeting new people; there were three people at my table that I haven’t met before and it was lovely chatting to them. The meal was lovely and I was pleased with the goody bag I received. It was so nice to see the hall full again – I love it there.’
Brenda used to attend a community centre in Hatfield, called Friendship House, which HILS have recently been working with Hatfield & District Age Concern to reopen, after the charity who previously ran it were unable to continue doing so after the pandemic. She says she is looking forward to being able to start attending her local community centre again soon. ‘The people I met were all very welcoming and friendly, and it was lovely to meet up with my friends again. We all had a very nice day and enjoyed the activities and the lunch. I’m really looking forward to having our own community centre – Friendship House – opened up again.’
The Jubilee Centre is supported by a group of local residents called The Friends of the Jubilee Centre, who have helped HILS to get funding for some much-needed refurbishments. Their Chair, Annie Stevenson, said: ‘It’s lovely to see this building, with all the history it holds, come alive again with all of its fabulous refurbishments. We can’t have the quality of life, wellbeing, and health without each other and being here together again is what’s most important.’
Sarah Wren, HILS Chief Executive, said: ‘It is such a joy to be able, once again, to open our doors and welcome local residents to our community centre. And to do so with a big event on Older Person’s Day when we celebrate our wonderful clients is even better! We would like to thank everyone for attending and showing their support, we hope we will be seeing them again very soon.”