Any Old Irons, part of Football Friends

Friends of the Elderly and West Ham United Foundation

 

Since 2015, Friends of the Elderly and West Ham United Foundation have been working together to implement the Any Old Irons programme, part of the Football Friends project.
It was launched as there was a noticeable void of social activities on offer specifically targeted at older men. Loneliness is an epidemic amongst older people and men in particular are often reluctant to seek support. By creating a programme that brings people together through their passion for football, we were able to encourage those experiencing loneliness and isolation to come together to reminisce, share stories and make new friends. Whilst the programme was initially founded to support older men, women are welcome and have also greatly benefited from Any Old Irons.
The main element of the project are five week programmes, run in cohorts, that involve participants in stadium tours, digital learning and story sharing, as well as meeting West Ham players – old and new.
Attributed to the success of Any Old Irons, with the support of key participants turned volunteers, the group now enjoys regular Q&A events with players and other volunteer-led social gatherings throughout the year such as boat trips, pub lunches and attendance at matches.

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