Rita de Clerk
I have been coming to the Clockhouse for some years now. I started with Tai Chi and the IT Group. I would like the IT to come back as we really should learn how to use I Pads and tablets.
About 9 years ago I joined the Singing for Fun group which I really like and I do enjoy singing. It is a friendly group and we have a laugh.
A couple of us started a Craft Group on Wednesday mornings. At first making cards was the most popular activity but now it is knitting. I have made good friends, it’s a great atmosphere and I am glad to be a part of The Clockhouse.
I joined the SLIGO group at the Clockhouse after having 3 stokes, suffering with depression.
I came to the Clockhouse to help out with the Dementia group cooking the lunches and met with some of the gardening group and they asked me to join them. I enjoy gardening it gets me out makes me mobile, meeting people and helping others.
I work 16 hours per week and when I am not at work I just couldn’t face going out. Volunteering in the Clockhouse garden has helped me to mix with new people. I really enjoy it and I like coming to the Clockhouse.
I have been coming to Leys CDI Clockhouse Project for several months now. I moved to Greater Leys in April 2016 and was new to the area, I knew no-one. I can;t stay up late anymore because of my health, so I look at what’s on during the day. I saw notices in the Clockhouse window, then met Sally the CDI worker and found out about the project. I started with the Line Dancing, I’ve done some dancing before but never Line Dancing, so it’s a new thing for me. I’ve also been coming to the Monday Social. It’s a convivial get-together to have a cup of tea and play Scrabble, Dominoes or whatever. I was quite nervous at first, I didn’t know what to expect. It can take a while to get to know new people, but the Monday Social is very good – a nice group of people. It’s nice to socialize, get out of my flat and meet others. Playing board games is interesting, but it’s as much the people playing the games themselves that I like.
I’ve done some computer classes with the Clockhouse IT Project Group and also seated exercise, which I enjoy. It’s very good for your health. As you get older you need to do some exercise. It makes me feel better mentally as well as physically. I’ve been twice to the gardening club. I was able to do some pruning. I’ve done quite a bit of gardening; I help my Dad out in his garden when I can. He loves nature and I suppose I get that from him. Leys CDI Clockhouse Project is very good, I hope it continues. It would be such a pity if it didn’t. People wouldn’t have anything to come to. The project does make a difference.
I started coming to Leys CDI Clockhouse Project 18 months ago. I came to Bingo and Quiz Night due to Pat, the organizer living by me. Then a friend said about the yoga, and from coming to yoga I found out about Tai Chi. I haven’t looked back really. We do yoga standing up on mats. It’s very good for balance and strength. I’ve got severe osteoarthritis of the lower spine, and I find Tai Chi and yoga both good for flexibility but in different ways.
What’s nice about all of it is the amount of friends you make. Nobody is bitchy or trying to compete. There are friendly groups everywhere in the project. Sometimes people are frightened, they’d be embarrassed they’d get things wrong, but it doesn’t come into question here, you just do what you’re able. That’s one of the things that keeps people coming – they’re not judged.
The low cost is also a big factor, Another local yoga class is £7 and I doubt very much there’s tea and coffee there. Having tea and coffee is nice, people like to sit around and have a little chat. It’s an added bonus. I help clear up afterwards when I can. So many people don’t get out. They sit on the sofa, rot away and just go to sleep. I want to do as many different things as possible in my life. In the Clockhouse Project there’s such a lot on offer, and it caters for all abilities.
It does brighten your life. It’s certainly opened up my life a lot. I’d been doing my entomology work and some other things, but outside that there was a lot of nothingness.
I’ve lived on the Leys since July 1969, and I’ve been coming to the Clockhouse Project for 3 years. I saw an ad for the singing group in the Oxford Mail. I’d recently lost my husband, and my sons said it would do me good. It was quite an effort to make that first step, but I’m so glad I did. It’s led to other things.
Now I also go to the writing class, the painting group, and the monthly bingos and quizzes. I come because I like it! I really enjoy it. It gets me out. If I was at home, I’d just be sitting on my own. Everybody’s at work; they’ve got their own lives. My husband and I did everything together. They were always “our” friends, not “my” friends. Now I’ve met a lot of new people and get on very well with everybody.
Creative writing is absolutely superb. Ann, our tutor, makes suggestions, and we try and write something to bring in each week. It’s so interesting. We get on very well at the painting group, too. I hadn’t done any painting since I was at school, but with donated art materials, you don’t need to buy anything. It’s very friendly and informal, and something different again.
The Clockhouse Project is not only important for the individual, but for this community. When it’s closed, we’re all at a loose end! I’m a volunteer, supporting the different activities, and doing outreach. If it was all left to one person, the project couldn’t work.
It can be so hard to persuade people to come out to things. I’m a very outgoing person, but even I find that first step is very, very hard. But I always say “come and give it a try”. Everything I’ve been to, we’ve been made very welcome. We don’t get any negative comments. It’s not like school. As long as you’re enjoying yourself, what does it matter? It’s cheap, so you can’t say you can’t afford it. Buy one cream cake less and come here instead!