Cuppas: keeping older people well in their community

'Cuppas' community café brings older people together and offers older and disabled people a much-valued volunteering opportunity and the chance to make a difference in their local community. Time Credits are enabling the Cuppas volunteers to do more together as well as offering individuals the chance to improve their health.

Pat Buckland earns Time Credits as part of a team running a community café, ‘Cuppas’, in Micklefield, one of two areas of deprivation in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. She first became involved in Cuppas as part of the steering group, setting up the community café on the Micklefield estate. This year is the tenth anniversary of the group! After hearing about Time Credits at a Big Local meeting, Pat signed Cuppas up to the scheme.

Cuppas provides a place and opportunity for people to meet  and make new friends, offering an activity for older people in the area to start their week. The volunteers that support the group are elderly and/or disabled, and Pat feels that volunteering with the group “helps them satisfy the very basic human need to be needed.”

Cuppas host a monthly book group at the café, but using Time Credits they are now organising group spending outings, with the volunteers using the Time Credits they have earned to take regular Cuppas customers and friends out with them to spending activities. This has started with trips to the Wycombe Swan theatre. Pat says,

“It started off with just a couple of people, but on our last visit to the scary play ‘The Woman in Black’ our numbers had increased to twelve! Who knows what other suitable opportunities the scheme might offer in the future – we only joined in March so we are still learning!”

Pat herself has also been using Time Credits to go swimming and says she is already feeling the benefits of it. She had a long break from swimming due to health reasons and when she first resumed it could only manage a few lengths. She is now swimming a quarter of a mile each session,  feels fitter and has lost weight. She said,

“Being able to swim for free encouraged me to resume this sport after several years away from it. I have enjoyed socialising with other Cuppas volunteers and being able to treat customers and friends who normally would not go to the theatre. Using Time Credits stops it seeming like we’re offering charity.”