Garden Group goes decorative for Christmas

Garden Group goes decorative for Christmas

At the last meeting before Christmas of the Good Neighbours gardening group we moved indoors to make some table decorations. Under Pauline’s expert guidance we all made a table deco using pieces of floral foam, baubles, tape, pine cones and most of all, evergreens from the CGN garden and elsewhere

You start off by thoroughly wetting the foam, then sticking in pieces of evergreen and other foliage plants

Here are photos of making the decorations and the finished product

Paul, thinking hard

cutting the floral foam to shape

hard at work  Helen admires the finished decorrations

“Holding Back the Years” – BBC at Good Neighbours

At the Good Neighbours Coffee Morning on 7th Dec 2017. A BBC team came to film some members for the programme series “Holding Back the Years” which will be broadcast as a set of 10 programmes over a 2 week period at 10am on BBC1. This is the 2nd series of the programme, the first of which in March this year had a set of personalities  looking at key concerns related to ageing.

The programme Good Neighbours is involved in is looking at Balance and Falls in old age – our experience of them and what we do to try and avoid falls as we get older. The presenter in Dr Rangan Chatterjee who is a GP in Gatley (not far from Chorlton) and also a bit of a media star ( see

Bernard, Enid and Judith were interviewed by Dr Chatterjee, and later many of our members at the coffee morning also participated in  balance exercises

We will be interested to see the final programme, but like our previouse experience of the media, I imagine the end product will be cut down to a few seconds on the many minutes of the interviews we gave

Bernard, Enid and Judith waiting to be interviewed

Bernard with the Clapper Board – I’ve always wanted to try one of those!

Dr Chatterjee interviewing Judith

Lights, camera,. action!

Dr Chatterjee interviewing Enid

members queuing up to try our the balancing exercise

X marks the spot

Matt Callaghan, the producer and director of the “Holding Back the Years” programmes, filming people as they arrived for the coffee morning

Helen trying out the clapper board

Gary, the assistant producer, talking to Helen

Judith with Dr Chatterjee

The normal crowd at the coffee morning happily ignoring the filming going on

Events in December 2017

Upcoming Events

Thurs 7th Dec
The last history talk of the year will be next Thursday 7th December
at 1.30pm : Margaret Beetham is coming to talk about the Beetons and the history of Victorian Women’s magazines..All welcome

Next Thursday 7th Dec at coffee morning:
– Diane Whitehead from ‘Hear to Help’ will be here to support hearing aid users, with cleaning moulds, giving out spare batteries and general advice. Just turn up from 9.30am .
– Our community nurse Eileen Kendrick will also be here if anyone wishes to call down to chat over any concern.

Intergenerational events:

1. Any CGN member is welcome at the Brookburn primary school senior’s Christmas party on Monday 18th December 2 at 3.15pm where the youngsters will be providing nibbles , drinks and entertainment.

2. Thursday 14th December here at Coffee morning the children from Oswald rd school will be here to sing a medley of Christmas songs from 10.45am..

Christmas break

There is no coffee morning on Thursday 21st December or any exercise classes that week. We resume as usual on Tuesday 2nd January. the next History talk will be Thursday 1st february

Coffee Morning Talk about Charlie Peace

Thursday 23rd November 2017 saw 86 people gather at the normal coffee morning – our coffee mornings are very popular!. They were there to hear dramatist Nakib Narat tell the story of notorious victorian criminal Charlie Peace.

Charlie Peace himself made a guest appearance where he was suitably booed by the crowd! (see

Children’s Books – CGN talk with Chorlton High students

As part of Chorlton’s Book Festival, 7 CGN members went up to Chorlton High school on Tuesday 21st November to meet with some year 8 pupils to discuss children’s books and fairy tales and how they have changed over the years. Several CGN people even took books they had kept from their childhood, and MCC brought a selection of very old books including one which had the Manchester bee depicted in it.

Everyone gained a lot from the session, and conversation flowed easily amongst the generations. We have agreed to meet with the school’s marketing and community office to try and find further ways to bring young and old, and even older, together on a regular basis Lots of students there but no photos (permission problems)

Access to Technology for Older People Phil Robinson’s research for CGN

Phil Robinson, a CGN volunteer who is also an IT specialist, has recently developed an access to technology questionnaire for older people. This has been completed by CGN users and by people in sheltered housing in Brook Court (6) and Ivycourt (20). Approximately 70 people have been filled in to date – most age 70 or older. Some younger people filled in the questionnaire to compare their results to older peoples

The results haven’t been fully analysed but several themes have emerged. Older people overall are much more frightened of using computers, smart phones and the internet than younger people. There are, of course, good reasons to be concerned about being scammed, hacked, defrauded or even identity theft. If anything younger people are not concerned enough about these risks, but the deep fears that older people have leaves them unable to access services that they would like to use and benefit from. This can include mainstream technologies such as using their debit or credit cards at cash points or making contactless payments. Look at the queues in the local Santander branch in Chorlton of people doing face to face payments or withdrawals rather than using the technology

Some older people questioned insisted that they didn’t use a smart phone, a computer, tablet or the internet and that they had no inclination or need to use them. They would need a lot of persuading to get involved. However, many older people were interested and even had devices that they never used. What such people required was some one-to-one training and support, but this had to be tailored to their specific needs (and limitations), not just generic training on a fixed programme. Being shown how to do things on your smart phone or tablet also needed repeating and practice so that they wouldn’t forget how to do it once the trainer left. To this end, Phil has already given bespoke support to about 15 older people, many of them, CGN members

The killer application for most older people is, on the face of it, quite simple – swapping and viewing photos on line with relatives and friends. However, there are a variety of ways of doing this – via email attachments, WhatsApp, messaging apps or web based apps (eg Google Photos). Other relevant applications include:

  • Online clothes shopping
  • Ordering food online (a lot of older people use the phone based Wilshire Farm Foods who deliver meals to their door)
  • Online news – whilst younger people get their news from social media, older people tend to get it from traditional media (TV & newspapers)

We will continue with getting the views of older people to see what their needs are for in order to support them to make better uses of their smart phones and tablets (or use them for the first time). We are interested in:

  • Focussing on less mobile CGN users, who can rarely get out of the house
  • Look at making more use of Wi-Fi and on demand streaming in such places as sheltered housing lounges
  • Peer mentoring so that there are people who they see regularly who can help top up or reinforce any training given
  • Perhaps setting up a regular Technology Clinic at CGN on Thursday coffee mornings

    Bernard Leach 17-11-17

Mickie Mitchell’s 100th birthday

Last Thursday. the 9th November. we all celebrated Mickie Mitchell’s 100th birthday, the third CGN member in two years to reach a century.Cards, flowers  balloons and two cakes meant all 70 people in the Hall could join in celebrating with such an inspiring and wonderful lady.

To read about Mickie’s amazing WW2 exploits, read this post on the website from 5 years ago:
Mickie Mitchell in WW2

At the same time Jo from the Body shop was down selling Christmas gifts and raising money for the Care Group. Thanks to everyone who supported that.

Talk on the History of Chocolate- including an Aztec drink

The thursday 2nd November History talk saw 40 people come to listen to Diana Leitch talking about the science of chocolate, including being able to sample the drink according to the recipe that was prepared by the Aztecs 2,000 years ago..

Everyone thought the talk was fascinating and really appreciated Diana’s knowledge and delivery. We hope she may come back to talk about the history of Pyrex next year..

Pharmacy students visit coffee morning

Thursday 2nd November coffee morning saw 7 pharmacy students now in their pre registration year with Boots, come along to carry out various activities with our older people. The students were looking at bone health and offered simple advice . This included simple exercises, guessing the percentage levels of Vitamin D in certain foods and giving literature about osteoporosi (a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile). The Department of Health recommends that older  people should take daily vitamin D supplements, especially during the winter months,to make sure they get enough.

The older people responded really well to the students input and enjoyed engaging in the different activities. The students reported that they were surprised at the number of people who came to coffee morning and were initially sceptical that they would be able to engage them. Fears were soon allayed once they got chatting around the tables.

New volunteer training session at CGN

On Wednesday 1st November 7 new volunteers came for  a session with CGN trainer Debra McCallion covering topics such as

  • What is working well with the volunteering
  • What are the challenges , in particular around 1-1 home visiting
  • Revision of volunteer boundaries
  • Confidentiality and safeguarding

CGN is still receiving inquiries from young people in full time work but willing to support an older person at weekends or early evening, either with home visits or taking them to the shops or out to a café


Good Neighbours at the Manchester Food & Drink Festival

‘Octogenarian Cooks’ event

On Wed Oct 5th there was an ‘Octogenarian Cooks’ event at the Manchester Food & Drink Festival:-

“Shopping and cooking can be a challenge in older age. Not only due to health issues and affordability but also because many older people live alone. Yet older people often have great cooking skills and tasty recipes to share. Cooking and eating together can also have a positive impact on your well-being.

The event brings together the University of Manchester, Cracking Good Food, the leading chef Maz Linford and older people from across Manchester to cook and share food using recipes old and new.”

The event was reported by Radio Manchester and you can listen to a recording of that item, here

Some of Good Neighbours regulars went down to this event and here are pictures of them