We all need benefit from being active, social participants in our community.
However, as we age, it can be increasingly difficult to get the social interaction we need.
Despite the options available for socialising in later life, there are significant psychological barriers to taking the leap and meeting new people.
So in this article, we’ll explore social clubs and groups for retirees and see how we can all become more involved and engaged in our local area.
Social clubs and groups are collectives of individuals that share common interests and meet regularly in service of those interests.
Coming together in clubs, members share their experiences, skills and opinions for the benefit of the wider group.
Meetings can be based around any activity or past-time, and to an extent, the reason for convening isn’t as important as actually interacting face-to-face.
Social clubs and groups are really for any person at any age. From our youngest years, we’re often (forcibly!) placed into after-school clubs.
It’s where we experience the social skills, teamwork and peer-led learning that benefit us throughout our lives.
Into adulthood, our pastimes lead us organically towards various interest groups and those who share similar perspectives.
As we become older, however, it’s important to play a more active role in this process, where forming social connections and meeting new people may present more of a challenge.
As humans, we’re built to connect and cooperate, traits which are essential for both individual wellbeing and the overall health of society.
Worryingly, however, society seems to be experiencing a growing loneliness epidemic, with estimates suggesting that 1.5 million people above the age of 50 suffer from chronic loneliness.
This is why grassroots initiatives like social clubs and groups are vital to maintaining the bonds that, on a personal level, provide the support we need.
As we age, we may face many different challenges, from retirement and bereavement to declining health.
Having a supportive fraternity to support us through such difficult times can make all the difference.
This support may come in many different forms, but it’s often the small things that matter the most, from a little chat to simply sharing a physical space.
Many of us want to remain active and engaged in our hobbies for as long as possible.
By venturing into the community and forging local ties, we develop a network that can act as a safety net when needed.
If we have particular health difficulties, for example, local clubs and groups may help us remain independent at home for longer.
There’s no age limit on curiosity.
We may well have harboured dreams of creative writing or art classes that we’ve never had time for before.
In later life, we have the leisure to explore these interests and see where they lead. This process can result in significant psychological growth as we realise our innate capacity for learning at any age.
By sharing our knowledge and skills in local social clubs, we maintain the fabric of our local area.
As communities face the threat of becoming more disconnected, so too, we lose our ability to come together and support common causes or shared interests.
Social clubs and groups are a vehicle for locals to connect and cooperate, re-invigorating villages, towns and cities around the UK.
As well as contributing to our health, making new friends is fun!
Being able to share thoughts, feelings and experiences with those close to us is particularly rewarding.
In this way, developing local ties via social clubs and groups can help us enjoy a better quality of life.
If you’re interested in a particular activity, there’s undoubtedly a social club for it.
From gaming to flower arranging, the options are endless. Let’s take a look:
Quizzes are a great way to organise some regular, friendly fun. At heart, they’re a team exercise, emphasising collaboration, and they can even be themed around specialist topics to bring out that Mastermind knowledge!
We all have stories to tell. Whether that’s a memory about our childhood, an adventure to foreign lands, or a detailed knowledge of local history, organising talks create an interactive forum, with questions and answers at the end.
Books contain the wisdom of the ages, and sharing these insights in a group environment can be particularly rewarding. Moreover, they provide the material for a lively discussion of topical themes and contemporary issues.
Film clubs can make for an absorbing social club or group. With the huge selection on offer and easy availability through website streaming services, you can choose anything from classic spaghetti westerns to modern romances!
Perhaps you have something you desperately need to get off your chest, or simply want some good-natured debate on a divisive issue like politics! Discussion groups are the perfect vehicle for befriending your fellow group members and can cover an array of different subject matter.
Ever fancy trying your hand at gardening or learning about vintage cars? Hobby groups cover such a broad gamut of interests and pastimes, there’s always an enticing option. Often these groups are led by a more experienced organiser, so you can easily join as a beginner.
As we age, it’s extremely important to remain physically active. While it’s often hard to motivate ourselves to attend the gym alone, research shows that there are more health and wellbeing benefits when exercising in groups versus working out alone.
Many of us dream of the artistic life and unleashing our creative potential. Attending an art or craft club may provide just the opportunity to paint those rich summer landscapes or pen stanzas of your new poem.
Why not socialise and exercise at the same time, while enjoying the best that the English countryside has to offer? Walking groups not only provide an important escape and a healthy dose of nature but can also be rewarded by a cake and cuppa at the end!
Ever harboured the romantic image of eloping to Paris and learning the beautiful language? Unfortunately, it wasn’t an option for most of us. But language groups can help you make up for lost time while stretching your brain in ways you didn’t realise possible!
Let’s face it – socialising is hard, especially if you’re out of practice. As we become older, making new connections might seem more difficult.
After all, when we have established rituals and routines, and it can be intimidating to embrace the change needed to reach out to make new connections.
This becomes even more challenging if you’ve suffered from the loss of a partner and already feel isolated.
Luckily, many groups are well aware of this and go to extra lengths to make newcomers feel welcome.
This might include a special day organised solely for new attendees or if you’re a beginner, buddying up with a more experienced group member.
Even though we might feel insecure and vulnerable reaching out for friendship, the benefits are well worth overcoming that initial fear.
With the practice of attending a few group meetings, we can build the confidence needed to try new pursuits and pastimes, until it almost becomes second nature.
Traditionally, it’s been hard to find local social clubs and groups. Outside of the local newsletter, noticeboard or word-of-mouth recommendation, it was often hard to see what was on.
Luckily, technology has helped in discovering interesting activities in our local area.
Simply heading over to www.google.co.uk and typing in your interest and activity, followed by the location is a great first start.
An example could be “quiz nights in london” or “quiz nights in kent”. Indeed, you might have even found this website through Google search!
The only problem with Google, however, is that the results can be quite varied and entail scouring many different pages for answers.
As a retiree, you might simply be looking for activities or social opportunities with people of a similar age, which is exactly what Mirthy was designed for.
We want to be the one-stop-shop for those searching for educational resources, social clubs and interest groups in later life.
So feel free to click here and search for anything interesting near you.
If you can’t find the right social activity in your area or prefer to be adventurous, you might consider creating your own interest group.
Luckily, you’re in the right place! Mirthy’s mission is to foster community connection and keep people more active and engaged in later life.
But we can only do that with your help. We want to facilitate social clubs and groups for the people, by the people.
When communities become self-organising and self-generating, that’s when the magic really happens.
Groups become far more engaged when they have the autonomy and freedom to organise their activities around their own interests and schedules.
Learning can be even more effective when self-directed and undertaking the responsibility of managing a community around a passion or pursuit can be extremely rewarding for group leaders.
If you’re interested, we would recommend starting with the following five steps:
Think of an interest or activity that you have expertise in, currently enjoy or would simply like to learn more about.
Decide what would you need to set up the meetings. Would you require materials, guest speakers or expert insight? Is it an activity you’re able to organise independently or do you need help?
Good social clubs and groups begin from tiny seeds. That might simply involve a few friends meeting regularly for a book club and cup of coffee. If you can encourage some of your local connections to join, that’s a great first step.
One of the best things about organising a social club is the opportunity to meet new people who bring fresh ideas and perspectives. Therefore, it pays to think about how to promote your group in the local area. Are there any notice boards and community centres you can use for leaflets or local press outlets and magazines you can inform?
When you have an idea for a group, reach out to us at Mirthy. Depending on the idea, we may be able to provide the support you need. This may involve discussing how to promote the group locally or creating a listing on our website to send new attendees to your meetings.
We believe that social clubs and groups not only help with individual happiness and wellbeing in later life but also create healthy, interconnected communities.
If you’d like to see how to get involved in a club or group near you, click here, or alternatively contact us for further information.