22 Aug 2016

Older people get creative this September

Hull’s got talent – especially the over 55s. Find out how to get involved in this new competition showcasing the skills of older people in the city.

Hull’s Older People’s Partnership (or OPP) are champions of older people in our region. Working across Hull and East Yorkshire, this multi-agency partnership promote the needs of older people, coordinating and improving existing services in the region. They also help to find new, creative approaches to problems older people face in the community.

This creativity is the driving force behind the Celebration of Older People Week, organised and run by the OPP. The 2016 event runs from 26 September and includes a broad programme of creative activity, highlighting the positive impact creativity can have on the lives of older people.

We had a chat with Cheryl Oakshott from the Older People’s Partnership to find out about all the amazing work they do for the older community and how people can get involved with their exciting new competition – Hull’s Got Talent.

What is the OPP, and what do you do?

The OPP welcomes and supports any groups and/or individuals that are supporting and delivering services to older people living in Hull. The partnership offers a pool of knowledge around services for older people which is accessible and beneficial to all participating bodies. We share information, identify gaps and maximise opportunities.

What do you have planned for the Celebration of Older People week 2016?

A sub-group of the OPP (Celebration Week Planning Group) have been meeting on a regular basis since earlier this year to plan the delivery of this year’s Celebration of Older People which takes place w/c 26th September 2016 across Hull. We are thankful to the Big Lottery who have very kindly funded this year’s celebrations. As usual, the celebrations will include the annual Hull’s Got Talent 55+ Competition, theatre performances, fashion show, tea dance, intergenerational choirs, singing, dancing, stalls, advice and information and lots more! Programmes for the event will be available very shortly.

How does the Celebration of Older People Week help to improve the quality of life of older people?

The celebrations include a series of activities and events to highlight and showcase the contributions that older people are making to our local community and the positive impact that engaging in these activities can have on health and wellbeing. All members of the OPP make huge efforts to encourage and support older people, and their families and carers, to participate and get involved in the week in order to promote the wide range of support that are available across the city for older people and how this can improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.

They have told us they love to sing, dance and laugh together and wish they could have the opportunity to do this more often!

What impact does the OPP have on the lives of older people in the city?

The feedback we have received has been hugely positive and older people and their families now look forward to this annual event and have it marked firmly in their calendar each year! We have seen older people grow in confidence, self esteem and make new friends. They have told us they love to sing, dance and laugh together and wish they could have the opportunity to do this more often!

Each year we have seen the entries for the Hull’s Got Talent 55+ continue to grow and many older people have moved on from being part of the audience to entering and taking part.

What are the benefits of bringing volunteers and professionals together to make OPP happen?

Many services that support our older people have reduced in size and capacity and many have lost vital funding or are trying to manage on much smaller budgets. The OPP empowers and supports services and groups to work together in order to continue to deliver services in a much more creative and collaborative way, rather than working in isolation and struggling to continue and survive. Members are very welcoming of this approach and there are now some excellent examples of effective partnership working in place.

Can you tell me a little more about the winner of Hull’s Got Talent last year and how they felt about entering? Did their confidence grow as a result?

Last year’s winner was a gentleman who did an excellent monologue which was very original and funny. This was the first year he had entered and had been encouraged to take part by members of a local acting group for over 50s that he had starting attending.

Why should people get involved in Hull’s Got Talent this year, and what kinds of talents would you like to see?

There is a cash prize of £50 and everyone who takes part is awarded with a lovely memento of the occasion. We already have lots of entries this year, particularly from singers, so it would be great to see a wider variety of acts including dancers, comedians (as we’ve never had one enter!), magicians (never had one again!) and musicians! We are not looking for accomplished performers with polished performances but rather people who just want to have a go, perhaps on their own or with some friends and have some fun. The majority of people who enter have never performed to a live audience before, or at least not for many years, so as you can imagine the night brings lots of laughter, tears and joy!

What do you hope Hull being the City of Culture in 2017 will bring for OPP?

We believe that our older people in Hull play a huge part in our society and culture and have played a huge part in our city’s history and helped to make it what it is today. We embrace the contribution they have made and need to learn, share and celebrate their lives, stories and experiences. City of Culture will provide us with the foundations and platforms to support the OPP and our older people to do this and we can’t wait!

If you have a talent you would like to showcase at this year’s Hull’s Got Talent which takes place on 28 September, fill out the application form online by 26 August. All entrants must be 55 or over and live in Hull.

Alternatively, keep up to date with everything that’s happening with the Older People’s Partnership on Facebook.

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