Mapplewell & Staincross Village Hall hosts a number of activities, the majority of which are open to the public and anyone can attend for just a small fee. This year the Village Hall Manager, Nick Hibberd, has been taking a closer look at some of the activities to explain why they’re important to so many in our Community.
The Mapplewell & Staincross ‘Pop-in’ Club
Friday 2pm – 4pm
Last month marked the end of the Mapplewell & StainX Over 55’s Social club which formally closed its door on the 5th November 2021. This was after a ‘members’ vote’ unanimously called time on what had been a bastion of the Mapplewell & Staincross Community for pensioners in one form or another for over 65 years. In a brief survey carried out in the hall in 2018, the average age of its membership was over 80 and whilst new members had brought the average age down over recent years, the impact of the lengthy shut down caused by the covid pandemic meant that the club lost its drive and momentum and the committee, along with the members, decided to call it a day.
Like many, pensioners’ clubs its roots were founded on the original ‘Darby and Joan’ movement that first started back in 1942 in Streatham, London. There, for the first time, 3,000 local pensioners could go to a club for recreation and a chat and get any advice on issues that were causing them anxiety. This quickly spread through the UK as the demand for such clubs was recognised by local communities everywhere.
‘Darby and Joan’ is (and always was) the description given to an elderly and happily married couple who live a quiet and uneventful life, often in modest circumstances. John Darby and his wife, Joan are said to have been first mentioned in the poem The Joys of Love never forgot written in 1735, by Henry Woodfall. They then continued to be cited in other poems, paintings, stories and even comedy sketches. Even to this day the term is used to describe a specific age group as it can relate to married couples, widows and widowers alike.
There are still a high number of ‘Darby and Joan’ Clubs throughout the UK, but from the start of this millennium, many have changed their name to try and project a more up-to-date identity and so attract younger members. When you consider that life no longer ‘begins at 40’ but is now deemed to start as late as ‘60’, most modern pensioners don’t want to be associated with the ‘bus-pass’ toting, ‘pension-book’ waving imagery of yesteryear.
So Why the ‘Pop-in’ Club?
As a community hall, we have tried to look at the changes to public society and recognise that, whereas most pensioners tend to have more disposable income and lead a very busy social life, there are other people in the Community of different ages that are isolated and may have fallen on harder times. These don’t match the ‘Darby and Joan’ benchmark.
The Pop-in club has no age restrictions, young or old, and for a couple of hours each week we can provide friendship, warmth, refreshments and entertainment for very little outlay.
The fact that this club also runs on a Friday afternoon, means that visitors no longer have to turn out on a cold dark night in the midst of winter, often returning to an empty house. It will also run for 51 weeks of the year, closing only between Christmas and New Year, as we have said all the way through that people can still feel lonely and isolated even in the middle of summer.