“I’m a Ladbroke Grover, born and bred,” says Pat Arcadipane with the pride of someone that clearly has a deep affection for where they live. And it’s easy to see why; after a lifetime in the area, including 34 years in her current home at Wornington Green, Pat is very much a fixture of a community that has retained its decidedly friendly feel.
It is a community where Pat clearly feels comfortable and, after raising a family in the area, knows a lot of people of all ages. “It’s a nice neighbourhood,” she says, adding, “when I’m out and about I always bump into someone I know, and the young lads make sure they give me a hand back home with my shopping.” No doubt they remember the delicious food she used to cook for her children and their friends when they were growing up.
But despite being one of Wornington Green’s best-known faces, Pat found herself increasingly isolated. Caring for her disabled husband left her precious little time for socialising, and even if she could find the time there was no obvious place to go to see friends and meet new people.
And then, last July, Pat came along to the new Wornington Green coffee afternoon. Held every Wednesday afternoon in the residents’ room, the coffee afternoons were started as a way to help people meet old friends, make new ones and generally have fun. Pat is very glad she made the decision to come along. “More than anything, it’s brought me out of myself,” she says. “I was nervous before I first came along, of course, but once you walk through the door you realise how friendly and welcoming everyone is. We’re a good mob and I would miss it terribly if
I could no longer come.”
The activity afternoons have been such a success, and Pat felt so at home with the group, that she was one of 12 people to launch a new crocheting circle, held on Tuesday afternoons in the residents’ room. There is also a ‘Chair Zumba’ exercise class every Friday for residents.
What’s more, the group has evolved to include outings – there’s a trip to the West End coming up for dinner and to see the musical Jersey Boys and there’s also a planned walk along the Regents Canal for some exercise (and a nice lunch at the end, of course!).
“ Before I started coming here, I was a prisoner in my own home,” says Pat, “but now it’s completely different. It’s no exaggeration to say it’s completely changed my quality of life and I would really encourage as many residents as possible to come along. I know that first step can be a daunting one, but I promise you you’ll be glad you made it.”
The coffee afternoons take place every Wednesday at 2.30pm – 4.30pm at the residents’ room, 8a Chiltern House. For more information contact Bernice Semple, Age Concern Community Outreach Worker, on 020 8969 9105.