Celebrating Older People: Silver Sunday

Silver Sunday takes place on 1 October this year, the same day as the United Nation’s International Day of Older People. With hundreds of free events and activities across the country already confirmed, this year is set to be the biggest celebration of older people yet.  Find out how you can get involved here.

What is Silver Sunday?

Silver Sunday is a national day celebrating older people, which takes place on the first Sunday of October every year. Led by The Sir Simon Milton Foundation, it celebrates the value and knowledge that older people contribute to our communities while helping to combat loneliness and isolation.

How did it all begin?

Silver Sunday was launched in 2012 in Westminster by The Sir Simon Milton Foundation and Councillor Christabel Flight, after a report discovered more than a third of people over 75 said they were lonely. The day soon spread to other London boroughs, and is now expanding nationally with events taking place across the UK.

The aim is to establish the day in the nation’s conscience as a day to think about older people and give them a day to remember. Councillor Christabel Flight, Older People’s Champion for Westminster City Council and Founder of Silver Sunday says:

“We have a mother’s day, a father’s so why not have a day to celebrate older people. My aim now is to get Silver Sunday in the diary and on the calendar, much like Mother’s Day.”

How does it help tackle loneliness amongst the elderly?

Attending a Silver Sunday event can be the first step for many isolated older people to get out, make friends, and try something new in their local area. As well as giving them confidence, it also encourages them to stay mentally and physically active, learn new skills, and ensure they feel they are a valued part of their community. By helping people to access existing local services, we can also help connect more vulnerable older people with other organisations and community groups to provide additional support where needed.

 In 2016

  • 38% said that they rarely got out of the house and Silver Sunday helped them.
  • 84% felt part of their community as a result of Silver Sunday.
  • 97% found new services and want to find out more about them.

The day also offers an opportunity to highlight some of the fantastic events and activities for older people which are already taking place, and promotes further discussion about the growing issue loneliness amongst the elderly.

Who can take part in Silver Sunday?

Everyone can get involved! Whether that’s organising an event, spreading the word, or simply attending an activity. You could check in on an elderly neighbour for a chat, teach a free class, or organise a tea dance in your local community hall – big or small, it all can a make a huge difference.

Which events should we look out for this year?

We have so many fun and interesting activities! Some of the new events this year include a free ferry trip and tour of Bristol harbourside, mass tai chi at Paddington Recreation Ground, and a walking football tournament in Worcestershire. We also have support again from Lord’s Cricket Ground, the English National Ballet and the Royal Albert Hall.

We already have some events specifically for people with dementia too, including a Singing for the Brain session in Westminster, and a musical event at The Wallace Collection.

Events are being added all the time, please check our website for all of the latest Silver Sunday  activities.

I want to organise a Silver Sunday event – what do I need to do?

  1. Decide on your event. Why not team up with a local school or college to organise an inter-generational activity, such as computer classes? We have lots of inspiration on our website.
  2. Find a venue: The world is your oyster! But if you’re struggling to find an appropriate location try contacting your local community centre, library or council.
  3. Submit your event: Large or small, near or far, we want to hear about your Silver Sunday plans. Submit your event here and we’ll promote it on our website and social media.
  4. Get the word out: Whether it’s putting up posters, contacting your local council, promoting it online, or good old fashioned word of mouth, spreading the message will help make your Silver Sunday a success.

To find out more about Silver Sunday please visit our website or watch our video. You can also follow us on Twitter @SilverSundayUK or email us [email protected]

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About the author

Lucinda Hurrey

Lucinda has a background in corporate marketing and communications, and recently moved to work in the third sector. She is currently a Project Officer for Silver Sunday, a progamme by the Sir Simon Milton Foundation to help combat isolation and loneliness amongst the elderly.