In many countries across the world, the over eighties group of people has become the fastest growing population group. This is mainly due to the fact that people today are more health conscious; know the benefits of proper diet, as well as of sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. Improved medical facilities and procedures also play a large part in this increasing longevity. However, this has resulted in older persons facing two major challenges, namely:
- Shrinking incomes
Generally speaking, social contact is much more important as people age. Perhaps they have lost a spouse, and many friends and/or their children have emigrated. While some older persons choose to spend the rest of their days in South Africa, others simply cannot afford to follow their children due to financial constraints.
A number of years ago SAARP anticipated these needs and planned to create social clubs to meet them. When the ARP&P closed down SAARP saw this as a golden opportunity to provide these facilities for both its own members and for the ARP&P members. The existing ARP&P social clubs were invited to join SAARP and SAARP Social Services came into being in order to support and assist the clubs. At this point SAARP invested a substantial amount of money in the infrastructure of its new clubs.
While SAARP endeavours to meet the economic needs of older persons, its Social Services arm deals with the problems of loneliness through the creation and maintenance of social clubs.
By holding monthly meetings and organizing entertainment, lunches and outings, the Social Clubs provide an opportunity for older persons to meet and interact. Many clubs, in fact, have sub groups, for bingo, scrabble, bridge and similar pastimes. In this way many of the older persons’ needs for social interaction are catered for.
Membership of a club is open to any person over the age of fifty. A low annual membership fee (usually around R25 to R40) is levied by each club in order to meet the running expenses of that club. Clubs are autonomous and are only expected to provide SAARP Social Services with copies of their accounts and details of their members. SAARP Social Services in turn provides the clubs with a Club Manual, receipt books, membership cards, copies of the Constitution, the SAARP Logos and any other assistance which they may require.
SAARP appointed one of its directors as General Manager to run SAARP Social Services. He is there in an advisory capacity and also provides the clubs with advice and assistance as and when required.
Services offered by clubs
Examples of the services offered by a club:
- They encourage participation in monthly meetings
- They provide varied forms of entertainment at these meetings
- They arrange outings and excursions of all sorts
- Some clubs subsidise these outings
- They arrange speakers to talk on interesting topics
- They organise discounted trips and tours
- They negotiate local discounts
- They provide persons with the opportunity to serve on the various branch committees
- Selected branches also offer computer training thereby enabling people to keep in touch with their children via e-mail and the World Wide Web
The General Manager remains in constant contact with club committees and frequently addresses their meetings. Committee members are provided with two free internal monthly newsletters to keep them in contact and informed of the latest developments.
SAARP Social Services also assists groups of members to create new social clubs and guides them through this process. Typically Social Services assist with the selection of an initial venue and with helping to identify people who would form the initial Committee. SAARP grants each new club a setting-up amount of R1,000.
At the inaugural club meeting the General Manager will ensure that there is someone at the door to welcome people and to give directions and to answer simple questions. He will then address the meeting and cover the following points:
- the introduction of the initial committee
- background information on SAARP
- aims of a SAARP Social Club
- economic and social benefits offered by SAARP
- the need for proper administration and control
- the setting of a date for the first monthly meeting
The chairmen of the clubs in the Western Cape, Southern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal attend regular regional meetings chaired by the General Manager. At these meetings there is cross feedback between the clubs and this has proved to be of great benefit to all. Information on speakers and entertainers is shared at these meetings and clubs pick up operational tips from other clubs. Social interaction between club committees is just as vital as the interaction between members of a club.
Currently there are 28 active clubs ranging in membership from 40 to 1,200 members with a total membership approaching 9,000.
List of social clubs
|Bellville||Johnny Hing||021 919 email@example.com|
|Clarewyn||Alwina Smith||021 712 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Constantia||Vicki MacKenzie||021 712 0854 | 084 597 email@example.com|
|Fish Hoek||Brenda Murrell||021 782 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Groote Schuur||Victoria Paterson||021 681 email@example.com|
|Helderberg||Chris Marshall||073 220 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Hermanus||Ingrid Green||028 316 email@example.com|
|Milnerton||Lorraine McMurdo||021 558 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Muizenberg||Alan Gregg||021 701 email@example.com|
|Napier||Michelle Boock||028 423 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Panorama||Richard Anders||083 280 email@example.com|
|Pinelands||Merle Byworth||021 434 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Silvermine||Mrs B Baines||021 789 1065 email@example.com|
|Jeffrey’s Bay||Louis Opperman||042 296 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|PE West||Lynne Crothall||041 365 email@example.com|
|PE North||Elliott Bashe||073 692 firstname.lastname@example.org In subject line quote: Please give this e-mail to Mr. Elliot Bashe’|
|Bloemfontein||Judy Mitchell||051 522 email@example.com|
|Alexandra||Stuart Ormerod||039 975 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Amanzimtoti||Maureen Proctor||031 903 email@example.com|
|Hillcrest||Gloria Humble||084 034 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Andre du Toit||082 450 email@example.com|
|Margate||Godfrey Roper||039 312 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Pietermaritzburg||Mrs Jo Olley||033 386 2860|
|Anette Gouws||033 346 email@example.com|
|Pinetown||Brian Humphrey||031 709 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Umhlanga||John Young||031 572 email@example.com|
|George||Pam Hodgson||044 884 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sedgefield||Janice Gibson||044 343 2795 | 079 905 email@example.com|
|Johannesburg East||Lillian Picker||011 346 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Lakefield||Colleen v d Westhuizen||082 462 email@example.com|
|North Rand||Stuart Tough||011 465 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Temba||S Llale||012 717 3103 | 084 671 1080|