St Leonards over 55s try decoupage for the first time

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A group of local over 55s enjoyed a crafty morning at St John’s Church in St Leonards on Sea earlier this month when they tried their hand at decoupage for the first time.

The fun, free event was part of First Time for Everything, a programme designed by Royal Voluntary Service to support physical and mental health and wellbeing. Supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, First Time for Everything gives people, particularly those that are older or less mobile, the opportunity to try something new for free in their local community, and to be social and active.

Decoupage is the art of decorating an object with coloured paper pieces. Local artist and ceramicist, Liz Emtage, led the session, showing participants how to use decoupage to decorate plant pots. The group chatted over a sandwich lunch afterwards.

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The First Time for Everything programme launched in 2017. Since then, and with support from Royal Voluntary Service volunteers, more than 940 First Time for Everything events have taken place across Great Britain. More than 13,800 people have come along to date to try new activities like hula hooping, tap dancing, woodwork, wreath making, mindful mandala drawing, martial arts and paddle boarding. According to a recent participant survey, 97% of respondents said they felt happier after attending a First Time for Everything event and 93% felt more connected to their local community.

A group of over 55s in St Leonards try decoupage for the first timeA group of over 55s in St Leonards try decoupage for the first time
A group of over 55s in St Leonards try decoupage for the first time

Laura Chow, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Getting out and about to try something new with a friendly bunch of local people is not only a lovely way to spend a few hours, it’s great for your health and wellbeing too. Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, First Time for Everything is helping people come together to be active, social and have fun, and to feel more connected to their local community.”

Local resident, Ann, attended the decoupage morning. She said: “I really enjoyed the session and love my pot. I took inspiration from the demonstration pot which I thought was lovely.”

Session tutor, Liz Emtage, said: “The session was fantastic; everyone interpreted the activity in different ways and the final pots looked beautiful. The group concentrated so hard and the activity was very calm and mindful.”

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Rachel Rich, Royal Voluntary Service activity co-ordinator for St Leonards on Sea, said: “There are some fantastic First Time for Everything activities coming up and a warm welcome is always guaranteed. These events really do make a positive difference to local people’s lives and we’re extremely grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their continued support.”

For those unable to get out and about to First Time for Everything events, Royal Voluntary Service has designed the Virtual Village Hall, a free, online activity hub and community. Supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Virtual Village Hall helps people stay physically and mentally active, connected and having fun. There are more than 2,000 sessions available to view on-demand, from Art to Zumba, with new content added regularly. Sessions are livestreamed daily on Facebook, YouTube and X, formerly Twitter. Followers take part in real time or view on-demand. It is free to join and take part, and no sign in or subscription is required. Where activities require equipment, ingredients or materials, these are low-cost and easy to source. To find the Virtual Village Hall, search @VirtualVillageHall.

For more information about First Time for Everything activities in St Leonards on Sea, contact Royal Voluntary Service activity coordinator, Rachel Rich, on tel: 07918 377510 or email: [email protected].

To find out more about local volunteering opportunities with Royal Voluntary Service, visit royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/volunteering/

To make a donation to support the charity’s work, visit: royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/donate.

Follow Royal Voluntary Service on X, formerly Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @RoyalVolService.