Manchester’s over 55s got creative this month, making dreamcatchers at a free craft workshop at St. Matthew’s Community Hall, Crumpsall.
The free dreamcatcher workshop was part of First Time for Everything, a programme designed by Royal Voluntary Service to support health and wellbeing, and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. First Time for Everything gives people, particularly those that are older or less mobile, opportunities to try new activities in their local community for free.
Patricia Calder from the Dynamic Engagement Project led the workshop. Dreamcatchers originate in Native American and First Nations cultures, and feature handmade willow hoops with woven elements and decoration such as feathers and beads. They are sometimes hung over a bed to protect against bad dreams.
The First Time for Everything programme launched in 2017. Since then, and thanks to support from Royal Voluntary Service volunteers, more than 685 First Time for Everything events have taken place across Great Britain. Over 9,900 people have come along to date to try new activities like yoga, paddle boarding and IT skills, British Sign Language, treetop trekking and pottery. According to a pre-pandemic participant survey, 93% of respondents said they felt happier after attending a First Time for Everything event and 75% felt more connected to their local community.
Laura Chow, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Staying active and connected to our local community are vitally important to our wellbeing, whatever our age, mobility or circumstances. First Time for Everything is a wonderful way for local people to come together to try something new and have fun. We all need that at the moment and I’m pleased that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting the programme.”
According to new research by Royal Voluntary Service and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, more than one in four people (28%) aged 55 and over haven’t been able to do any of the things they enjoy doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Half are looking forward to getting out and about and seeing people as restrictions ease, and one in eight want to try something new.
Gillian Allen attended the First Time for Everything dreamcatcher workshop. She said: “I loved the dream catcher making. I’ve seen them in shops and thought that they would be difficult to make but Patricia made it easy for us to follow. She was very patient with us so we could all take a finished one home. It was a different activity to try and I’m looking forward to future activities.”
Karen Kennedy, Royal Voluntary Service activity co-ordinator for Manchester, said: “Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are offering a wide range of exciting First Time for Everything activities each month at different locations around North Manchester.”
The next First Time for Everything event in Manchester will be a community planting event at Herristone Park on 30th October as part of the Billion Seed Challenge.
For more information about First Time for Everything activities in Manchester, contact Royal Voluntary Service activity coordinator, Karen Kennedy, on tel: 07795 450563, email Karen.Kennedy@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk
To find out more about local volunteering opportunities with Royal Voluntary Service, visit volunteering.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/volunteering