Since West Ham United Foundation launched the innovative Any Old Irons programme back in 2016, more than 200 Over-65s have signed up and made friendships, learnt new digital skills and reconnected with their community.
After originally being launched in Newham – with the sessions being held at East Ham Working Men’s Club – the Any Old Irons project is now expanding to Tower Hamlets.
Run in conjunction with Friends of the Elderly and supported by the Premier League and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Any Old Irons gives participants the opportunity to connect with other fans locally, bringing them together for fun and friendship. Those attending can also learn how to stay in touch with their fellow fans and the Club using digital technology.
Maureen, a regular at the Any Old Irons sessions in East Ham, could not be clearer about how the programme has helped her.
“Catching up with AOI friends and also meeting and proudly introducing the newbies to the group is always a pleasure and something I look forward too," she said.
"I have made some firm and long lasting friendships within the group which I hope will develop as we all grow older, also going to the West Ham United matches and meeting other group members is now part of the match day experience for a lot of us! Being part of the Any Old Irons has allowed me to take time out for me and given me an opportunity to socialise.”
With 75% of the previous Any Old Irons now saying they have a new friend network, and 55% of the participants saying they have improved their digital skills, the project has proved a huge success.
Maria Abraham, Health Manager at West Ham United Foundation, is excited about the expansion. She said: “We’re delighted to be able to take Any Old Irons into a new Borough, and are keen to see as many as possible sign up. If you know anyone over 65 then pass them our way as we’d love to welcome them to Any Old Irons!”
To find out more or register your interest, email [email protected] or call 0330 332 1110.