The Hull FC Community Foundation has named 87-year-old Shirley Middleton as the first Participant Of The Month for June 2023.
Shirley, who has severe Alzheimer’s, has been attending the Community Foundation’s Our Best Years sessions for some time now, where she is accompanied by her carer, Faye Thornton.
Developed in partnership with Age UK Hull to form part of the Foundation’s ‘Teaming Up for Health’ partnership, ‘Our Best Years’ offers inclusive opportunities for fans to meet new people, make friends, and participate in activities which promote health and social outcomes.
Four sessions run at separate venues across the region on a weekly basis.
Speaking to hullfcfoundation.co.uk, Shirley’s carer Faye explained how they came across the sessions.
“After researching social groups for my client Shirley to attend, we came across this group. This group was the easiest and quickest group to provide further information and answer all questions I had,” she explained.
“Shirley’s mood has improved no end. She has severe Alzheimer’s and forgets most things now, but she recognises the building and all her Westgarth friends each week and really enjoys herself no matter what the activity that week. Shirley keeps a framed photo of Westgarth attendees on her mantlepiece as a reminder she isn’t alone and has a lovely big group of friends.
“During the more active sessions, Shirley would originally be very reluctant to join in but now her enthusiasm has improved hugely.
“For Shirley, Our Best Years is her one and only chance to be sociable with others within her age range, where everyone accepts her and brought her into the Westgarth family straight away. Shirley likes to get here early and always stays until the very end. Shirley always has a laugh and thoroughly enjoys the weekly session.
“Shirley may not remember what we have done during the session, but she always feels positive and feels the happiness that the day has brought. She knows she has had a good day and that feeling carry’s forward once she gets home.
When I point to the picture of her friends in the photo frame, I’m guaranteed a smile and acknowledgment that those are Shirley’s friends and misses them when we don’t attend a session.”
To find out more about Our Best Years, please click here – or email email@example.com for more information.