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Gladys celebrates 100th birthday with help of Communicare

Published: 27th June 2019 09:42


GLADYS Webb from Southampton is celebrating her 100th birthday this Friday (June 28) at the Haven Lunch Club run in partnership with St Mark’s Church and the charity Communicare.

The great-grandmother-of-six has been coming to the Haven for the past eight years and originally used to cycle to the club but has more recently been given lifts by Communiteer drivers organised by Communicare.

The charity’s Manager, Annie Clewlow said: “Gladys, who lives in the Inner Avenue area, has been coming to the Haven in Archers Road since roughly 2011 and has always been a wonderful addition to our Lunch Club, so we’re delighted we’re able to help her celebrate her big day this week, although her actual birthday is on Sunday.

“She used to ride her bike to the Haven until she was 94 when she broke her hip and then started walking. More recently our Communiteer drivers have been giving her lifts so she can enjoy her lunches and socialise with the other club members every Friday.

“She says her secret to life is keeping active and doing exercises. She has two children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Her favourite hobby was gardening but she doesn’t do as much now, however she still loves to potter. Another pastime she enjoys is scrabble and she is fantastic at it! She regularly beats me when I am lucky enough to be at the Haven for lunch.

“More recently she has also taken up knitting and makes strips that then go towards making blankets and they are sent abroad to help those in need in other countries.”

Since Gladys has been a Communicare Lunch Club attendee she has been assisted by around 21 different volunteer drivers and, also, has had some help from Communiteers with her shopping and gardening when needed.

She has also attended some of Communicare’s social events such as tea parties. One of the centenarian’s sons and daughter’s-in-law now lives with her.

Annie added: “We’re a friendly, neighbourhood charity that enriches the lives of lonely and isolated people in and around the city. 

“Our lunch club at the Haven is run by St Mark’s Church in partnership with us and the team includes some of our committed, kind-hearted Communiteers, who act as good neighbours, generously providing a weekly natter, cuppa, lunch and a game of Scrabble or similar social activities, as well as other practical and emotional support. 

“We have lots of people like Gladys who would like to come along to our club, but they need help getting to it and we urgently need more volunteer drivers to provide just a little bit of time each week to help.”

Communicare’s Good Neighbours’ Network supports nearly 350 individuals/families annually in Southampton, covering more than 600 different tasks such as one-to-one befriending and transport to activities. All the assistance offered is free to users, although beneficiaries are invited to make a donation if they are able to, and Communiteers are offered expenses.

“We always need more Communiteers to help with our events and the services we provide. We appreciate everyone is busy, but we find even the busiest person has a few minutes each day to drop in and see a neighbour when they are passing.

“You might also be able to tag on to your own shopping trip getting a few items for a neighbour too. We’re not asking for complicated, overly time-consuming tasks, just simple ones that can be incorporated into your daily routine as needed.

“Communiteers are offered simple and basic training on topics such as safeguarding, manual handling and developing listening skills should they wish to take it up. They can choose their level of involvement and the types of activities they wish to engage in too.”

The Haven Lunch Club takes place every Friday from 11.30am until 2.30pm.

To find out more about Communicare or to become a Communiteer, please call 023 8021 6022, visit www.communicareinsouthampton.org.uk or follow the charity on Twitter at @Communicare_SO or log on to www.facebook.com/CommunicareInSouthampton.

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