Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to join the friendly Short Mat Bowls club at Avonmouth Community Centre.
From chatting to members of the group it was clear to see the many benefits of the sessions and the fantastic sense of community that the group has.
On the day I spoke to 95 year old Irene who told me, "My advice to anyone retiring – join every club you can. Nothing is quite as boring as sitting in a house all day long”
Another chap tells me “It gets me out the house…It’s something I’ve never done before”
Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health, with research showing that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2010). Social networks and friendships not only have an impact on reducing the risk of mortality or developing certain diseases, but they also help individuals to recover when they do fall ill (Marmot, 2010).
This is clearly evident when chatting to one attendee, she tells me “ A couple of years ago I had two falls….They said to try and get back to what I used to do…That’s why they pick the bowls up for me”
One attendee adds “[It’s the] meeting new people [and catching up with] the same faces”
After chatting to members of the Short Mat Bowls Club it was clear that the importance of the group for alot of people is getting out of the house, seeing other people, exercising and having fun.
Fancy joining this friendly bunch? Short Mat Bowls is £2 a session and includes refreshments. The community group meet every Monday and Friday from 10am-12pm. For more information please call Eddie on 0117 950 7156.
Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston, Sea Mills and Shirehampton Community Development Worker