Now in its 5th Year, the Festival for Older People took place on 6 October at the Rufus Centre in Flitwick, attracting over 300 visitors from towns and villages across Central Bedfordshire.
The event is designed to be both informative and entertaining with over 40 stalls providing advice and guidance about social care, health and housing services available to support older people. There were also a select number of stalls selling crafts, jewellery and traditional sweets. Various workshops covered everything from Armchair Pilates and Mindfulness, to Skincare. In the main hall ‘Elvince’ entertained the crowd.
The event was organised by Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council, Aragon Housing Association and Circle MSK and had Health and Wellbeing as the theme. Health checks including Blood Pressure and Diabetes were popular on the day and there was a range of useful medical and practical information.
Have a listen to some of the feedback on the day
Beverley Fye of Aragon Housing
Carers in Bedfordshire
Heather from Wiltshire Farm Foods
Vinod Tailor – High Sheriff of Bedfordshire
Michelle of Mind for Well Being
Sarah Cottam of Circle MSK
What did the visitors think?
Both the event organisers and the exhibitors received a lot of positive feedback from visitors on the day. Many people were return visitors and have said that they would recommend a future event to others.
For visitor, Pat (pictured right), she was able to combine her health check with a relaxing hand massage. It was Pat’s first time at the Festival for Older People. So, would she recommend to her friends? Pat replied, “Yes, I should tell them to come next year definitely. Perhaps we’ll hire a bus!”
A big thank you goes out to the companies that donated prizes for our quiz; Poplars Garden Centre, Bob’s Bespoke Soaps and No.14 in Ampthill. We’re sure the winners enjoyed their prizes!
Iona of Aragon with visitor, Pat.
Feedback from the Exhibitors
At the Circle MSK stand where Tom, a physiotherapist, was on hand to discuss conditions and concerns with passing visitors, Sarah Cottam commented: “I’m absolutely astounded at how many people have come through today, it’s a fantastic event. It’s been great for me to realise that not so many people knew who we were. So, we can work on that. I’ve come away with some really good ideas on the things that we can do as a company to support the local community as well, so that’s exciting for us
For voluntary organisations like ‘Carers in Bedfordshire’, it’s a chance to access important groups of people who may not think to ask for help. A volunteer with Carers in Beds explained, “A lot of people might think that when they’re older and they’re looking after their husband or their wife that they’re muddling along and looking after each other. They might not recognise that what they’re doing is a caring role and that there is support and groups and other things out there for them”
The Festival For Older People is rapidly becoming an eagerly anticipated annual event with visitor numbers growing year on year. The event provides a ‘one stop shop’ of valuable advice and information, especially for people who are less mobile or those less inclined to seek assistance.
A full report on the festival including comments from both visitors and exhibitors will shortly be available on the Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire website.
We look forward to seeing everyone next year!!