One year on: KLS’ Elders Annual Report 2019-20

Note: This review covers our Elders programme up to the end-March 2020.  It does not describe any of our Coronavirus lockdown work. This will be shared shortly in an accompanying blog post.

Katherine Low Settlement’s work with elders

We have worked with older people since we started 96 years ago. We provide, often in partnership, a range of projects and activities focusing on Health and Wellbeing, Creative Arts, Intergenerational Work, Connecting Neighbours & Active Participation and Trips / Outings. We are locally focused, responsive to need, co-produce our work programme and achieve effective and significant outcomes for older people.

KLS ‘Dance for Life’ troupe were singing in the rain

Our members

We prioritise working with isolated, frail elders living in Battersea and across Wandsworth – particularly those who are single, recently bereaved, with little or no family, living on a low income and in poor health (including diabetes, arthritis, Dementia, stroke, blood pressure and mental health issues).

  • 223 older members.
  • On average 140 attend each month. There has been a 40% increase in regular attendance.
  • 17 weekly groups – 13 delivered by KLS directly, 4 provided by our partners.
  • 42 new members were referred and assessed (17% increase on last year).
  • Retention rates are high. Even when members are hospitalised or unwell we actively stay in touch and are delight how many resume activities as soon as they are able.
  • 77 is the average age – our eldest Cecilia is 95 – 35% of our members are over the age of 80.

Our Achievements in 2019/20

Outcome 1. We encourage active and independent living

We enabled older people to stay physically healthier and have a sense of purpose to their lives.

100% of our elder members make a contribution to the life of Katherine Low Settlement.

“The drama group has given me a new lease of life and a chance to develop talents I never thought I had. It is something I look forward to every week.”

On average 140 older people regularly attended each month one or more of the 17 activities we run. 83% of new members attended one or more weekly activity. These include

  • Social support clubs: The Contact Club, The Little Club, Gold & Silver Players drama group, arts and craft activities, sewing, ‘Crafternoon’ club, a community choir; as well as a quarterly Mental Health Carers group.
  • Exercise programmes: chair-based exercises and chair-based dance (5 sessions a week), Dance for Life, a walking group (when the weather permits), gentle yoga, T’ai Chi, and line dancing.
  • Healthy eating: such as the Older People’s Lunch Club (3 per week).
  • Trips & Outings: We doubled the number of trips this year to 22 (10 last year). These included trips to Brighton, Richmond Park, The Poppy Factory, the Theatre, McDonalds – which our members requested as they hadn’t been in years. They enjoyed the ice cream and coffee with our volunteers. We held events including Afternoon Tea, ‘KLS Elders have the X-Factor’ and a Holiday at Home – all were really positively received.
  • Jack & the Battersea Beanstalk – Panto 2019

    One-to-one support: We offer targeted support for members and their families with complex needs including home and hospital visits.

Additionally, we provide an inspiring, original, imaginative, uplifting (and often hilarious) range of extra elements to our activities, arising from member’s talents and interests and an amazing range of external organisations who love working with us (and us with them).

“It gives me a reason to get up in the morning no matter how I feel. To enjoy the day with good company is what keeps me coming back.”  Come rain or shine Martin is with us every week

Outcome 2. We reduce isolation and loneliness

We enable our Elders to make new friends, social connections and networks – creating new relationships and attachments with other older people, particularly important for those recently bereaved. We encourage older people to join other social programmes within KLS, for example, our regular lunch clubs.

95% of our older members have social contact with other people at least once a week.

“I have been embraced from the first visit to KLS and although I do have physical and other challenges, I have always been made to feel welcomed by the team and also the other visitors to the centre. I was able to participate in a trip around Hyde Park, which was very enjoyable and brought back memories.”

Myrtle, regularly attends our Lunch Club

95% strengthen their informal network with neighbours, befrienders and KLS staff and volunteers. 

88% feel more in control of their daily lives.

Food brings people together

A freshly cooked, two-course, healthy meal, is dished up three times a week. Improvements were made to the lunch offer this year including, providing menus in advance, more choices for puddings, offering squash and investing in some new equipment including wipe down table clothes and flowers.

We also invited our volunteers to join our elderly members for the meals, rather than just serving. Our elders have reported a more family and friendly atmosphere.

We’ve double the numbers coming to lunch club this year.

64 different members attend lunch club on a regular basis.

“I enjoy everything at the lunch club that KLS provides, happy with menu.”

“Enjoy it very much. Christmas lunch was lovely, especially with the children and visitors.”

In June 2020 we asked our older members to think about the difference attending KLS has made to their lives, in our annual Elders Impact Survey. They reported:

100% said they enjoyed the social interaction

88% have a wider social network

90% feel less isolated

98% feel part of the community here in Battersea

“It gets me out of the house, to spend time with friends, meet new people and be creative.”

“You do a wonderful job. You have so much patience.”

Transport is vital in getting our elders to attend our community services

100% agreed that our transport support helped them to attend!

Our adapted minibus travelled over 4,000 miles, picking up and dropping off an average of 48 elders each week (we’re at capacity).

We also use Dial-a-Ride, community transport and taxi club services to enable our elders to participate in our services.

Outcome 3. We improve health and wellbeing

88% of our elders were better able to manage own health condition through better information, peer support and exercise. This is up 56% from last year.

81 older people attended one of our six exercise classes through the year.

We help to improve balance, fitness and strength and a general sense of emotional wellbeing. We instill a positive attitude towards physical activity such that older people may feel able to do more independently.

“The atmosphere is very relaxing and welcoming. The class tutors are lovely. We are like a small family.”    

Votes for Women: Celebrating the centenary of women’s suffrage

Our annual Elders Impact Survey 2019/20 includes questions specifically relating to our exercise programme and the benefits of physical exercise. Our older members reported:

95% felt that their fitness level had improved

79% felt their balance had improved

84% felt their flexibility had improved

84% felt their overall strength had improved

“Ann Marie was in a wheelchair and a lack of confidence was a real issue. Now she has the confidence to stand and not use the chair during the classes.” Hannah, our Exercise Tutor

“You are doing a good job, love you all and can’t wait until I can hug you all.” Mary is an active KLS member

Get in touch

Sarah Goodall

Head of Elders Team

020 7223 2845

[email protected]

Meet (some of) our Elders team: Dawn-Lisa-Ricky-Ava

Support our family

We are committed to building stronger communities and enabling people to challenge themselves and find ways out of isolation through our varied community projects. There are so many ways you can support our work and help us to deliver our services to even more people.

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