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Hackney social club for over 65s reopens for the summer offering online cooking classes, choirs and a book club

PUBLISHED: 17:27 07 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:01 07 August 2020

The Palace Club has been running for two years but has moved all it's activities online for the time being due to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: The Palace Club

The Palace Club has been running for two years but has moved all it's activities online for the time being due to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: The Palace Club

The Palace Club

A free Hackney social club for people aged over 65 is returning for the summer with a whole host of online activities.

Members of The Palace Club outside Chats Palace before the lockdown. Picture:  The Palace ClubMembers of The Palace Club outside Chats Palace before the lockdown. Picture: The Palace Club

The Palace Club was set up two years ago by Chats Palace Arts Centre to combat isolation and bring the community together.

The club’s programme includes baking lessons from an East London female-led catering company called Canababes and all ingredients are pre-weighed and delivered to members’ doors.

Club host and artist Laura Wyatt O’Keeffe told the Gazette: “I think it’s just so important that we find ways of making sure people are connecting but also that were connecting with the older generation.”

She said: ““[At the club], we’ve had a moment where a woman and man with early onset dementia both sang this song they both knew. They joined each other and it just came out of nowhere and watching that happen and unfold is incredible - that level of connection.”

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“The group is so different in so many ways and then seeing them all together and they’re such fun and everyone is very chatty to everyone. I think it’s so important that we find ways of making sure that people are connecting but also that were connecting with that generation.”

The cooking classes will take place live on The Palace Club’s Facebook page along with a new digital Elders Choir and book club with local publishers and authors.

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Laura is concerned with the digital divide and members not being able to access activities but she says a “big chunk of the group” have become familiar with Zoom and social media after accessing other services during the Covid-19 lockdown.

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She said: “Often we underestimate the elder community in willingness or their ability with technology but then there is a portion of people as well who are not used to it.”

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She has managed to provide resources which instruct members on how to access services and activities on the internet but is also looking for organisations or charities which provide ipads, tablets and dongles to community groups.

“I think there is quite a few people who don’t have anything IT-wise and don’t have wifi. So that’s been something I’ve been focusing on – how can I make [the club] as accessible as possible?” The Palace Club’s host said.

Laura plans to have a mix of online and face-to-face events in the future as lockdown eases.

“I hope that when I’m older there will be people and places like this,” she said.

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All events are free if you are 65 years or older and a member of The Palace Club. Pre-registration is required for all events

Email projects@chatspalace.com to book a place.

For more information visit The Palace Club’s Facebook page by clicking here.


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