The club where fun doesn’t age

21 November 2018 | West and South West England

Young at Heart Club - Jack Bonner, Eileen Cooksley, Diane York

At Young At Heart Club, the over-60s enjoy laughter, food and good company.

There are always plenty of laughs at the Young At Heart Club. It is one of the things that makes the club, for over-60s, such a special part of the community in Mid Devon and Wellington.

Lloyd Yorke, 57, founded the non-profit club in 2014 with his wife, Diana, to make the community a better place for everyone. Both had previously volunteered for a charity for the elderly, but they wanted to offer something more.

“Most of our members live in rural areas and are quite isolated and lonely,” he says. “Some don’t eat well, as they are depressed and often can’t be bothered to cook. We offer a hot meal, a host of entertainment and the chance to socialise.”

The couple hire halls three days a week, and members arrive at 9.30am for tea and biscuits, and will then play cards or dominoes.

“We arrive early and set up tables with flowers and napkins, all restaurant style. The members will then play a variety of activities, from bowls, to golf, to flower arranging. When we play Play Your Cards Right with our giant cards, it generates huge laughs,” he smiles.

“They then get a freshly cooked two course meal, and will then take part in other activities until 2.30pm. For just £15, they get a whole day out, with food.”

The club prides itself on offering modern activities for the elderly. “We’ve purchased tablets, and one lady who’d never used one before, loves using them to do word searches,” Lloyd says.

He also tells the story of a 106-year-old who learned to use a computer at the club.

“At this age, she never thought she would be able to learn such a modern skill,” he says. “The joy on her face when she mastered it was just amazing. Sadly, she’s since passed away, but knowing she had that experience is just wonderful.”

The couple also offer transport for those who can’t get to the club.

“We’ve had people tell us that if it wasn’t for the Young at Heart Club, they wouldn’t have a reason to get up in the morning,” says Lloyd.

“Some have even said they wouldn’t be here. Diana and I do this from our hearts, and we’re also keeping communities going by paying for the halls. People deserve the chance to learn new and exciting things, and to socialise, no matter their age.”

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