A better Medway
Published: Tuesday, 18th December 2018

Medway Council is encouraging residents to stay connected over the festive period. 

No one wants to be alone, especially over Christmas. Age UK research found that half a million older people in the UK spend five or six days a week not seeing or speaking to anyone.
There’s lots of ways to stay connected over the Christmas period including clubs and activities where residents can make new friends. There are a number of clubs across Medway including gardening clubs, local history groups, dance classes and much more. Joining a group in your local area is a great way to meet people with similar interests.
Men in Sheds is just one of the many projects available in Medway where people can make new connections. Men in Sheds supports local men stay well by getting together to share their interests and skills, including sessions such as woodcraft, music sessions and art. Men in Sheds focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on men over 25 who are not in work and retirees. For more information call 01634 338600.
Medway Men in Sheds organises four sessions each week which focus on different interests and skills. 
Peter Lawrence has been attending Medway Men in Sheds since June. He said: “It’s good fun and the best thing is the companionship. I live in Grain so it can be very isolated. The ‘sheds’ session connects me with people who have similar interests and my Monday guitar sessions are the highlight of my week.” 
Ray Rees, from Gillingham, also attends the Monday music sessions. He said: “I always wanted to learn to play drums. The session are a great excuse to get out of the house. I know I’m not going to be a rock star but I really enjoy drumming and watching everyone develop skills. I’m getting better as I tap out rhythms I learn in sessions along to the radio at home.” 
Medway Council’s A Better Medway health walks are free and are an easy way to get more active, enjoy the great outdoors and socialise with likeminded people. The Medway Health Walks and Cycling Programmes will be running over the Christmas and New Year period and are open to all ages. 
Robin Bourner is one of the walking leaders who runs the Cuxton group. He said: “Each route takes between 45 and 75 minutes, aimed at all sorts of ages and it really does keep you fit and you make new friends for life.” 
The council is also encouraging residents to look out for their neighbours and elderly relatives over the Christmas and New Year period and make sure they are warm and well stocked with supplies and medicines. 

Ensure neighbours and elderly relatives have everything they need this Christmas

Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder covering Public Health, said: “It is important to stay connected all year round, but even more so when the weather turns colder. There are plenty of groups across Medway for people with different interests and I would encourage residents to find out more about what is on offer in their local communities. I would also like to encourage residents to check on elderly neighbours and relatives this festive season to ensure they have everything they need.” 
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