Chinese and older people become ‘Active Citizens’

'Active Citizens Engaged' is an intercultural group for older people from the local area and the Chinese community who live here in the city.  The group meets every Wednesday in Alexander House on Bishop Street.
'Active Citizens Engaged' is an intercultural group for older people from the local area and the Chinese community who live here in the city. The group meets every Wednesday in Alexander House on Bishop Street.

Alexander House in Derry is the setting for a special weekly gathering involving local older people and members from the Chinese community.

The Bishop Street accomodation complex, owned by Apex Housing Association, is the venue for ‘Active Citizens Engaged’.

Karen Scrivens is group leader and voluntarily organises the activities. She said: “When I turned 55 I realised that there was so much information that I didn’t have as an older person and it didn’t take me long to realise others were in the same boat. This group has allowed us to get together for a coffee morning every week, whilst also hearing about lots of things we wouldn’t know about otherwise.

“The group has done everything from line dancing to cooking, and we also hear from organisations on topics like health and wellbeing and take part in surveys and consultations. We’ve also been trained in things like first aid and been treated to music from the Ulster Orchestra. As the group is multicultural, it allows us all to socialise and learn from each other.”

Letty Parkhill is one of the members of the group and has been attending every week for the last eight months. She said: “I look forward to coming along every week. Before I joined the group I had very little contact with the Chinese community but they are so friendly and welcoming. We have enjoyed sharing our traditional cooking with each other and in February we travelled to Belfast to see a Chinese New Year show in the Ulster Hall. It was absolutely brilliant.”

‘Active Citizens Engaged’ meets every Wednesday from 11am to 1pm and is an independent group supported by The National Lottery Community Fund. If you would like to join, contact 028 7136 3891 or email Karen Scrivens at Karens.ace@gmail.com.