Aquarius Over 50s Art and Exercise Club
Aquarius over 50s are a community group that have been active in Hulme for over 30 years. They were forced to find extra funding after suddenly being faced with the challenge of moving venue for their popular arts and exercise classes.
Group members were very concerned they might lose their club and many commented on what a disaster it would be to lose the classes because of short term uncertainty about the venue. It became apparent how important the group was to its members and how hard it would be to start something similar up again after closing down.
Funding was approved to cover costs of relocating the activities during the temporary period of instability around a base for the group. Additionally, as part of their funding, the group made efforts to expand their membership. Steps taken included working with local GP surgeries and the BUZZ Healthy Living network to attract referrals for people with mobility issues.
Attended by about 40 people a week, the club has been able to continue offering its art and exercise activities, despite difficult circumstances. Reduced social isolation for older people is not the only advantage, the classes also provide quality activities that help improve skills and mobility and a welcoming space where people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to come and talk.
There is continued ‘cross-fertilisation’ effect pushing up membership numbers, with new members of the art group often persuaded to join the exercise class, on the basis that they will already know some of the other people attending.
Comments about the Aquarius activities from appreciative class members include:
"I would be lost without the classes, I couldn't live without them."
"It's more than just art, it's friendship."
MAFN Project Coordinator, General Enquiries