Nick Gibb paid one of his regular visits to the Laburnum Centre in Bognor Regis, at the invitation of Lynda Ryan, head of Community Support Services at Age UK West Sussex.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss “social prescribing”, namely the importance of social interaction for maintaining good health. The Laburnum Centre is working with local GP surgeries to encourage this approach for some of their patients.
Mr Gibb had the pleasure of seeing a line dance class in session and met the bingo group, saw the gym, hair salon and restaurant.
The Laburnum Centre has 1100 members and is open to people over the age of 50. Membership fees are £65 per year.
Nick Gibb said: “It’s all to easy to become isolated in old age, but the evidence is now very clear that maintaining a busy social life is a key component of living a healthy life.
“The volunteers and members at the Laburnum Centre have a huge range of high quality activities at their disposal - from line dancing to computing; art to bingo; chiropodist to hair salon as well a plethora of other classes and a restaurant. It’s a lovely friendly facility.”
Photo 1: John Gradwell and Nick Gibb in the kitchen of the restaurant. John is a volunteer who helps with serving food in the restaurant one day a week - usually Fridays.
Photo 2: Keith Haskett and Nick Gibb at the Laburnum Centre gym. Keith volunteers once or twice a week, as an instructor in the gym. He is a paramedic by occupation.
Photo 3: Staff and volunteers at the front desk: from left - Simone Shiel; Lynda Ryan; Nick Gibb; Sharon Catlin; Angela Horn.