Supporting older people in Surrey

Over the past year we have made a number of grants in partnership with the Community Foundation for Surrey to support older isolated people to stay active feel included see some of our highlights below:

£1,500.00 to The Lightbox in Woking to fund more frequent ‘Conversations in the Gallery’ sessions for older people

Marilyn Scott, Director notes that: “Conversations is a programme of regular interactive gallery discussions for older people, led by artists, curators, or art historians…These sessions are an opportunity for older people to get together and have a friendly, informal, but enlightening discussion about some of the artworks. Objects that might bring the works to life are often introduced and there’s always time for a cup of tea or coffee. These sessions will reduce social isolation, offer opportunities to socialise, and will also help promote health and well-being through learning and participation.

With the funding provided by The Pargiter Trust, The Lightbox will “be able to increase the frequency of these workshops to bi-monthly, as they are becoming increasingly popular. There are 15-20 people per session and approximately 60% are people with dementia and 40% are their carers.”

£750.00 to MGSO4 Epsom and Ewell Arts Festival to support a programme of outreach arts activities in 2017, aimed at vulnerable and disadvantaged groups

Maria Reeves notes that the Festival is aimed at “reducing social isolation; improving community cohesion; promoting inter-generational collaboration; encouraging volunteering; and improving individual’s well-being through the creative arts.”

£9,500 to establish GoodGym in Woking; a project tackling isolation within the elderly population, encouraging community cohesion and promoting exercise

Described as “One of the world’s most innovative ageing projects”, GoodGym is a community of runners who get fit by doing good; doing physical tasks that benefit their community. The funding will cover the costs of establishing GoodGym Woking – the first in Surrey.

Runners will run to make social visits to isolated older people; and will run missions for these older people; clearing gardens, changing lightbulbs and doing odd-jobs for people who struggle to do them alone.

The Pargiter Trust Fund was particularly excited to be the ‘founder funder’ of Goodgym in Surrey – as the Fund is keen to support innovation. An area of need that GoodGym has particularly focused on is loneliness and isolation amongst older people, with over 1 million people aged 65 and over admitting to always or often feeling lonely, and 17% of those living alone seeing family and friends less than once a week.

Bringing this project to Surrey will advance GoodGym’s aim of getting people all over the world off treadmills and into their communities in addition to tackling isolation. We look forward to seeing GoodGym “up and running” in Woking in the near future!

£1,500.00 to Music in Hospitals to put on music concerts across Surrey to benefit elderly people in healthcare facilities

Emily Winchester, from the Walton-based charity notes: “Research has shown that the introduction of live music into healthcare settings enhances the quality of life of patients, improves communication, empathy and understanding of patients’ needs, and reduces stress and the perception of pain, sometimes leading to the reduction of medication required. There is strong evidence that live music induces positive physiological and psychological changes in clinical outcomes, which can result in shortening the length of stay in hospital.

“One of our main objectives is to enhance memory, improve communication, express feelings and assist with rehabilitation of elderly people who may be living with dementia. We will also look to improve quality of life and wellness, reduce stress and create accessibility to high quality live music for this target group, who might not have the opportunity to partake in cultural activities otherwise.

“Music is used with older people to increase or maintain their level of physical, mental, and social/emotional functioning. The sensory and intellectual stimulation of music can help maintain a person’s quality of life.”

£2,500.00 to The Orchard Dementia Centre towards – a day centre providing support for Alzheimer’s sufferers

This will enable the centre in Chertsey to continue to serve and benefit the community of North Surrey.

Men in Sheds

In July 2014 several trustees arranged a visit with Age UK Surrey to Men in Sheds. This project brings together older, isolated men to bond over practical activities such as woodwork, metalwork and furniture restoration. The trustees were hugely impressed by the high standard of projects underway and excellent workshop facilities on show.

Chair of the Trustees ‘Suzanne Gardiner’ said:

“The dedication of John, the project leader was truly inspiring. It is visiting projects like this that remind us all why we are involved in the Trust and just how much these grants can make a difference to older people. Seeing the work of John and people like him really do make it all worth while.”

Clockhouse Center

A grant to the Milford and Villages Day Centre (known as The Clockhouse) supported the center’s ‘Extend’ chair-based exercise classes. The Clockhouse provides a friendly and safe environment for older residents of Milford and surrounding villages, to join in a range of activities, and provide respite for their carers. These classes aim to improve co-ordination, mobility and balance, consequently reducing the potential for falls.

Meeting Point at St Mary Oatlands

A grant in October 2013 funded a group outing for 50 Members of Meeting Point to see ‘Fallen Angels’ – a Noel Coward comedy this January.

“Everyone at Meeting Point is extremely grateful to the Pargiter Trust Fund. Thanks to the grant, a large group enjoyed a very special day out”.

The trip was fully booked very quickly and those attending enjoyed the anticipation, were assured of their safety and comfort, visited a wonderful new theatre and enjoyed lunch before being entertained by the excellent acting and beautiful stage set. Even the coach provided amusement and camaraderie. It was a happy experience shared – and provided lots to reminisce about – the trip will be talked about for months to come.

“The best thing about the theatre outing was that 90-year-olds could still get out and enjoy what younger people do! The happy chatter was proof of the positive impact of this experience. The Pargiter Trust’s generosity has been welcomed by all at St Mary Oatlands and communicated to the surrounding community thanks to our monthly newsletter. It has helped highlight the work done by Meeting Point and will no doubt attract even more of the local elderly population to join us”.

Walking Football

In April 2013 we supported the development of a Walking Football Club in association with Age UK Surrey and Woking Football Club. The project has given older people a route back into the game they love, as well as reducing isolation and increasing happiness.


Participants have said:

“I went to the first session and loved it! I found that concentration on the coaching and playing took my mind off the exercise. It also kept me motivated to keep stretching, walking and cycling at home”

“At the start of the football, my blood pressure was being controlled by medication and I was having occasional incidences of irregular heartbeats. Since starting Walking Football I have lost half a stone in weight, my blood pressure has dropped, I have not had any irregular heartbeat and my cardio/vascular capacity is much better. The football has given me the motivation I needed.”


Since starting the group has organized a charity tournament with Woking FC and provided a Walking Football demonstration during half time at one of Woking FC’s fixtures.

Walking football in Woking has now spread, helping a local fitness instructor and former football physiotherapist to establish a weekly walking football project in West Surrey, and Reigate Sports Centre has also expressed an interest in starting up a Walking Football activity program.

Furthermore, prompted by the success of Walking Football, Surrey Heat Basketball Team Community Section has now established Walking Basketball sessions for older people with the support of Age UK Surrey.

Nesta Ageing Well Challenge Prize

In 2013 the Trustees were delighted to have the opportunity to work with Nesta helping support older people through the “Ageing Well Challenge Prize.”

This incredibly exciting initiative promotes new opportunities for communities to come together with new radical approaches to help older people live well.

Five finalists were selected and awarded £10,000 to set up and pilot their projects. From this the overall winner, NANA, was selected to gain an additional £50,000 grant.

The Pargiter Trust was particularly excited to be able to fund two runner-up prizes of £25,000 each to Age UK Exeter, Tools Company and Radio Club.

Age UK Exeter, Tools Company – Part of Men in Sheds, Tools Company enables men to repair broken and old garden and trade tools to send to local UK charities and to Africa for business start-up schemes. Using donated tools and volunteer buddies they give older men with complex needs a chance to reconnect with meaningful, practical activity.

Radio Club – a weekly live radio show where up to 15 older people are the weekly contributors. The ‘call-in’ format has been developed to support older members of the community by allowing them to socialize live on air from the comfort of their    home – chatting and sharing stories. As members, they talk about anything and everything, giving them a chance to chat, while creating great content for the listeners.