Forget what you think you know about Bexhill’s over-55’s club in Eversley Road - it’s not for old fogeys.
That’s the view of chairman Shirley Rolf who urges newcomers to come and see what’s going on because there is “something for almost everyone.”
Shirley herself joined having responded to an appeal in the Observer for volunteer tutors.
“That must have been twelve years ago,” said Shirley.
“I have been a member ever since. I liked the friendliness of it - you are made very welcome. It’s nice because it is somewhere a woman can go on her own and not feel the odd-one-out, like when you go in a pub on your own, or even some clubs. You can just walk in and you just feel at home. I would recommend it to anybody. There is literally something for nearly everybody and always something going on, even if it is just having a cup of coffee and a chat.”
The club was started in the early 1960’s to provide a meeting place with varied activities for older people living in Bexhill and surrounding area. The club still to this day aims to provide somewhere to meet up and make friends and enjoy the many activities run by volunteers within the club.
These range from computer skills for beginners upwards to ballroom dancing, singing or reading.
There is a committee of twelve, all are unpaid and voluntarily give their time to the club.
Each activity run by the club has a group leader who is responsible for it, and the computer group has a group of volunteer tutors who give their time each week in the running of the classes, with beginners’ courses lasting six weeks, followed by the opportunity to learn more skills such as graphics.
The club holds fundraising sales, and other events to keep the club maintained; monthly social evenings are held, and holidays and coach outings are also popular features, such as the tinsel and turkey trip or jaunts away in summer.
Shirley commented: “When I first came I was tutoring on Wednesday morning, then Monday and Friday, and as time went on I saw they were doing dancing - and as I love it anyway, that was great for me. Since I took over as chairman back in July I think the only game I haven’t played is pool - because I cannot play - and dominoes. On Tuesday there is sequence dancing and on Wednesday ballroom, and we have just introduced salsa. A group of ladies asked me if we could do something a little bit more modern so we are now doing that and it is great fun, I absolutely love it. It is brilliant, and everyone is enjoying it. For the first session 27 people turned up - I was amazed. I think it is something different.
“Other popular sessions included the carpet bowls, choir, drama and creative writing - I always enjoying walking past that group because of the laughter that comes out of the room. It is lovely to hear it.
“To new people I would say - don’t be shy, just come along and give it a try. A lot of people think because it is Bexhill Senior Citizens club it is an old fogey club, but it is not - it is really good fun. There’s a new chess club, a games group, table tennis, and the computers are doing extremely well. There are things for quiet people, there are things for people that want to join in and be brought out of their shell. We get a lot of people who just want to sit and watch things going on - it gets them out of home and gives them company, and makes life less lonely.”
Contact the club, which is open Monday to Friday 10-12, 45 Eversley Road on 01424 21911, or email Bexhillseniors@yahoo.com