Pat Notton – SE1 resident and Young at Heart attendee

‘Coin Street is great’

How did you hear about Coin Street?

I’ve known about Coin Street since its inception in the 1980s as I only live down the road. I am now a regular at the neighbourhood centre as I attend the South Bank Forum meetings and love the Young at Heart Christmas party.

Are you an active member of the local community?

Absolutely. I help to run the Queensborough Community Centre in Southwark. My focus is getting the older members of the community out of their flats to enjoy a cup of tea and a chat. Coin Street is great, and we love hearing about what’s going on (thanks to the leaflet dropping), but the neighbourhood centre is seen as little bit inaccessible for those who, like me, live the other side of Blackfriars Road/Borough. Trying to encourage an older person who struggles on their feet to make their way from Elephant and Castle to Stamford Street is quite a challenge.

How do you think Coin Street could improve its services for the older local residents?

Perhaps the best thing would be if Coin Street had their own little minibus. I know they’re expensive, but if someone over 75 didn’t have to worry about transport, they’d be more inclined to attend events.

What sessions and classes would you like to see offered at the neighbourhood centre?

A basic computer class would be invaluable for the ladies I know. Most of them struggle with mobile phones. A lot of their bills, appointments, repairs and council tax statements are going online, an alien concept for them. Even a basic class on how to email so they can communicate with their grandkids would be amazing.

Another option would be a beauty service. Before a lot of my ladies were struck down with mobility issues, they would look forward to getting their hair done together on a Monday. After getting done up, they would go on to a local coffee shop and have a gossip. That little bit of pleasure has been taken away now as so many are housebound and really miss that routine. It would be great if a mobile hairdresser would come to visit them. Or if there was transport available to have it done somewhere nearby.

How could Coin Street improve its services?

I’d love to see more befrienders in the area. Vulnerable elderly people will not open their doors to anyone after 4pm in winter, which can leave them feeling isolated. Coin Street could run a ‘befriend the locals’ scheme. This could range from people popping in after work in the summer, or giving them a ring when it’s dark in the winter. Anything to let those who have no one know they’re not alone.