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Case Study: Skittles group at The Langton Pub

Case Study: Skittles group at The Langton Pub, St Anne’s, Bristol

St Monica Trust has partnered with Knowle West Health Park (KWHP) through our three-year Community Development Fund. With the three-year funding, KWHP employs a Community Development Worker for Older People, Kathleen Woodhouse. Kathleen encourages older people in the community to start up groups based on their interests. This case study is a great example showcasing the success of the grant and how it supports communities where older people flourish.

How the group started

Kim, a member of the Community Meet Ups group (another group initiated with the support of Kathleen) at St Anne’s House came along to an indoor Kurling taster session. Whilst playing, Kim began to talk about skittles as she had been a member of a skittles team in the past and was keen to play again. There was interest amongst other group members. Someone offered to pop over to The Langton Pub who are local and have a skittle alley, returning with the details of who to contact there. Kim was happy for some enquiries to be made and to see where it could go from there.

To help kick-start the initiative, Kathleen emailed the pub to ask if they could offer a low-cost rent for the skittle alley and was delighted that they offered it for free, provided it was used at a quiet time when paid bookings were unlikely. A time was agreed that worked for both the pub, and Kim, and did not clash with some of the other local groups in the area.

Two Meet Ups members took flyers to distribute around their local area near the pub and Kathleen shared them with her wider network. The pub also helped advertise it.

Monday 4th September saw Kim and the group waiting nervously to see who would turn up. Thirteen people came along to give it a try in a relaxed afternoon where everyone had a go, and Kim was able to share her skittles expertise with those who were novices. People had heard about the group from a variety of sources; the pub, leaflets at other local groups and one person who had come all the way from St George, via the Bristol Older People’s Forum.

How the group has developed

Since September, numbers attending have fluctuated, varying between five and eleven people, but there has always been enough people for a fun game. There is little organisation needed, so Kim does not always need to be there. The pub management are happy for the group to continue using the skittle alley as long as they would like to. Most players buy something at the bar and occasionally a meal; Mondays are a quiet time, so the arrangement benefits local older people and the pub. There has been a steady flow of new members, some via word of mouth, the latest who saw it on the pub Facebook page.

Friendships have developed between people who had not met before. In between skittles turns, there are a variety of conversations from gossipy chats to supportive conversations and signposting to other support and local groups.

What people are saying about the group

People enjoy that it is a drop-in group. One person goes to another Monday afternoon group and alternates between the two. Another local resident found out about the group via the Celebrating Age event at Knowle West Healthy Living Centre. She has talked about feeling cut off as winter approaches and was pleased to find somewhere local to spend an afternoon. Several people have found others in the group who they knew and were pleased to be reacquainted.

People are pleased to have found somewhere local to come which avoids having to use public transport. One regular member said, “I love it.” Another said, “Very friendly and welcoming group, have recommended the group to other people in the community.”

The Langton Pub said “It’s lovely for us to be able to give back a little to the community and it’s a pleasure to host such a nice group here every Monday. We feel lucky you have chosen our pub for your meetups, and it’s brilliant to see such a strong community in the area.”

Future potential for the group

Kathleen has connected with the Chair of Greater Brislington Together (GBT). GBT are supportive of groups such as skittles and kurling and are pleased to see more social opportunities opening up for and involving older people in Brislington. They reflected on the pub as a community asset and whether there is further scope to offer social activities at the pub, such as board games.

Listen to the attached voice recording interviewing Kim, founder member of Community Meet Ups Group at St Anne’s House and Kathleen, Community Development Worker for Older People. Kim started the skittles group at The Langton Pub in Brislington. This is the story of how that group came about and Kim’s experiences of being part of community groups following the death of her beloved husband, Malcom.

Case study

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