Was it a good idea to come to live here?

Was it a good idea to come to live here? In Hackney? In the UK?

This is a discussion point for older people whose family roots are somewhere else. We asked our participants: Were you brought here, or was it your own decision? Do you have any regrets? Are you contented? If you could start your life again, would you make the same choice? What are your best stories?

The voices belong to service users and volunteers at the Hackney 50+ Drop-in: Ayo, Bola, Dino, Hyacinth, Irene, Liz, Rick, Theresa.

Recorded 23 February 2018. 23 minutes.

“You have to look after yourself”

Hackney elders continue their conversation about social isolation – drawing particularly on the experiences of older carers.

When speakers refer to ‘here’ or ‘this place’, they mean the Wednesday morning drop-in and the Friday afternoon podcast.

The voices belong to service users and volunteers at the Hackney 50+ Drop-in: Anita, Irene, Mimi, Rick, Sallie, Zena.

Recorded 16 February 2018. 26 minutes

“Isolation kills people”

This podcast episode joins a conversation that was already in full flow. We were talking about the Wednesday morning IT drop-in at Whitmore Community Centre, and how it functions as a social inclusion project. The episode title (‘Isolation kills people’) should perhaps be expanded to ‘The drop-in project tries to rescue people from the isolation that might otherwise kill them’.

When speakers refer to ‘here’ or ‘this place’, they mean the Wednesday morning drop-in.

The voices belong to service users and volunteers at the Hackney 50+ Drop-in: Irene, Liz, Rick, Sarah.

Recorded 9 February 2018. 22 minutes.

Beating social isolation in Hackney

Our theme is social isolation amongst older people – and our starting point is the proposition that the best way to understand social isolation it is to talk to older people who have direct experience of it in their own lives or the lives of their friends – and the best way to combat social isolation is to follow the lead of the experts – older people who deal with it as part of their everyday lives.

The voices belong to Charlie, Liz, Mimi, Rick, Theresa B.

Recorded 26 January 2018. 42 minutes.

Links to places mentioned

Men’s Sheds Association

Men’s Sheds are similar to garden sheds – a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice skills and enjoy making and mending. The difference is that garden sheds and their activities are often solitary in nature while Men’s Sheds are the opposite. They’re about social connections and friendship building, sharing skills and knowledge, and of course a lot of laughter.

Visit Men’s Sheds Association

Bags of Taste

Hands-on cooking classes that are also great fun

We teach people who are struggling with food costs to eat better, for less.

Our delicious recipes are sourced from around the world and are all designed to cost less than £1.00 per head.

At the end of every lesson you can buy bags of ingredients at a cost of £3.00 each, with enough food included for four meals, so you can try cooking it again (and again) at home.

Visit Bags of Taste

Hackney Foodbank

We don’t think anyone in our community should have to face going hungry. That’s why we provide three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to us in crisis. We are part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

Visit Hackney Foodbank


I needed help with my garden.  Sallie from the Hackney 50+Drop in put me in touch with GoodGym. Two girls came clear all the leaves and weeds, and dug up my potatoes for me. They also  planted some plants after the pruning. They made a good job and they did not ask for payment.


GoodGym is really a good service that I would recommend to anyone over sixty who needs help.

GoodGym | Coach runs

Over a million older people in the UK are always or often lonely, some go for months without seeing friends or family. Visiting an older person as part of your weekly run can make a huge difference to their life.

We call the older people we visit coaches because they help motivate us to run and they share their wisdom. It’s amazing what you can learn from your coach. Coach runs can be fit around your schedule and don’t need to take up more than 20 minutes of your time per week.

Visit GoodGym Coach runs

Seeing ourselves, Showing ourselves

Do you remember this photography project with Helen Cammock at Open School East?

The studio portraits are online again at hackneystream.net/ose/seeing-ourselves-showing-ourselves

Helen has a new project called Shouting in Whispers – she will tell you about it herself at Whitmore Community Centre, Friday afternoon – 2 pm – 20 October 2017.

Helen will also pop in on Wednesday morning 18 October. Be sure not to miss her!