Barbara's story

Barbara (59) may be a relative newcomer to St Mauritius House, having moved into her one bedroom flat in November 2014, but she’s keen to participate in activities on offer at the scheme – and to encourage other residents to do the same.

She thoroughly enjoyed the Open Day held recently to launch a new initiative – the Lunch Club which takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays. It also included singers and dancers dressed in colourful Jamaican cultural costume, as well as a workshop on dementia and advice on healthy eating. 

“I really hope the Lunch Club is something the residents take to; it’s a great idea – not only do they get a wonderful hot meal and pudding for just £6, it takes place in a friendly environment in our communal area, and they could meet new people from  the community,” she says. 

Barbara loves her home, though she says it took some getting used, after previously living in a housing association property for 12 years in Forest Hill.  “We were on a short-term tenancy and had to move out by 2015, so I needed to make other plans. I had to bid for my place at St Mauritius.”  

The retirement/sheltered scheme – which consists largely of Afro-Caribbean, Asian and other ethnic minority elders - is ideally situated in South East London, with great transport links.

Barbara likes living independently and ‘doing my own thing’. She enjoys swimming, reading, going to gym, eating out and travelling to Jamaica from time to time to visit family and friends.

A former traffic warden in Lewisham/Catford, she also takes part in yoga classes held at St Mauritius House on Thursday afternoons. “I really enjoy doing the exercise; it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Barbara helps her friend Doxie run a coffee morning every Thursday: “It’s doing very well; the only thing is, it’s always the same people who attend every week. We’d like to see more new faces.

“I really wish more people would participate; all they need to do is come down to the lounge – it’s a lovely way to socialise.”