The Radford Care Group is one of its kind in Nottingham and is paving the way in how the elderly are cared for in the community. Sophie Thomas spends a day at the flagship centre to see just what it means to it’s members.
The sound of laughter can be heard as soon as you arrive at the unassuming building on Prospect Street, Radford as members of the care group get ready for their seated exercise class.
It is clear that, although the weather outside may be cold, in the breeze block building of the Radford Care Group the atmosphere is nothing but warm.
“When you think this is called the Radford Care Group it’s that one word ‘care’ and they really do care,” says Nancy Maddicks.
The 92-year-old has been coming to Radford Care Group for 15 years.
Image: Nancy Maddicks, 92.
The centre is open Monday to Friday 9am until 3.30pm and offers a friendship group where people can come, have a cup of tea and a biscuit, and take part in activities throughout the day such as arts and crafts and bingo.
There is also a day care for people with greater needs such as those who have dementia or people who have had stroke or fall.
Nancy comes to the friendship group once a week.
“The company and the change of four walls is why I like coming. I have made lots of nice friends and the volunteers are wonderful,” she says.
Nancy came to Nottingham in 1945 from Oxford when her husband was discharged from the SAS and liked the city so much she decided to stay.
She has four children, 11 grandchildren and is a great-grandmother.
Nancy, who lives in Beechdale, thinks places like the Radford Care Group should be available to more people and she is not the only member who has high praise for the centre.
Joyce Wakelin was a volunteer at the care group until two years ago when she felt not well enough to continue and decided to attend the group instead.
“It’s lovely here,” says the 77-year-old from Aspley.
“I’d come here every day if I could because it’s that nice, it’s something to do and everyone is so friendly.”
Image: Joyce Wakelin, 77.
Video: Joyce Wakelin, 77, speaking about being a member of the Radford Care Group and what it means to her.
Joyce, who has volunteered for over 20 years at a number of organisations, comes to the group three times a week.
Joyce suffers from agoraphobia and because of this she rarely leaves her house.
Coming to the group gives her the opportunity to stay a part of the community as Joyce is picked up from her house and dropped back off every time she comes.
Image: Joyce when she was a teenager.
“I just don’t know what I’d do with myself because wherever I went nowhere would be as nice as this,” she says.
“A lot of places are just luncheon clubs where they go for their dinner and after an hour just take them back. You want somewhere where you can stay.”
Joyce cares for her husband who she has been married to for more than 50 years.
He has emphysema and epilepsy and coming to the group gives her well-earned time off.
“When I come here I don’t forget about him but it’s an outlet and when I go back I can face it again.”
The centre, which is a registered charity, is independently run and funded.
The members pay for the service and costs are determined by the level of support they may need.
Although many that are referred by the City Council Adult Social Care or Health Service have some or all of their costs paid.
As well as being a charity themselves they also support other charities including Children In Need and Macmillan.
It has also started a carers group to help those who have to look after their loved ones and have began a Making Sense of Dementia group that specifically deals with carers of loved one diagnosed with the disease.
Set up in 1968 as a lunch club, the Radford Care Group opened its first day centre in 1970 in the Radford Primary School building on Denman Street West.
In 1979, with growing numbers of members, the care group was moved to Prospect Street and has become the day care and friendship group it is today.
Image: members of the day centre playing bingo.
Jill Davies, 59, has been the Chief Executive Officer for 17 years and has helped in making Radford Care Group the place it is today.
Coming to the centre as a fundraiser in 1997, Jill worked her way up the ranks.
“Day care has had a resurgence of popularity and people that come here you can guarantee they will always want to come again,” she says.
Image: Jill Davies, 59, Chief Executive Officer.
Video: Jill Davies at the Spring Fair held by Radford Care Group on the 28th March talking about why they hold the event.
The recession has meant the government have closed down many day centres across the UK as they were thought to be too expensive.
But Jill says they are sorely needed and that home care is not enough.
“People need more than a five minute visit in their home. It is not going to solve anything it is just going to paper over the cracks and people will still go into decline.
We have had people come in here with severe depression and it’s wonderful to see their persona change and a light come back on in their eyes
Jill says elderly care is going to be one of the biggest problems faced in society over the next 20 years and believes that early intervention is the key.
However Radford Care Group is not only giving back to the elderly of Nottingham but the young too.
They have also had many people take an NVQ whilst volunteering at the centre and have gone on to become fully qualified carers.
But not one to rest on her laurels, Jill has big plans for the care group.
She is hoping to knock down the current tired-looking building to make way for a new two-story centre, which will offer a wider range of services including exclusive training, extended day care and more volunteering opportunities.
So it seems that the Radford Care Group is set to go from strength to strength and Jill says that she is extremely proud of what they have achieved so far.
And there is no doubt she should be as the Radford Care Group is a social sanctuary for many elderly in Nottingham and has a lot to teach about what care really means.
Read more of this story: The Radford Care Group: The view from staff and volunteers
If you would like more information about Radford Care Group please contact: 0115 9786133 or email them at [email protected]