The Visible Elders Project: London’s Asian community

Established in 1999, Asian Resource Centre of Croydon (ARCC) has a vision to bring together Asian communities and businesses in west London.  In supporting voluntary and community activity that enhances quality of life in Croydon, they aim to create a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable society.

ARCC were awarded £38,900 by People’s Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery London West, in order to fund the two-year “Visible Elders Project.”  This extends an existing initiative at the Centre, running dance, yoga and Tai Chi sessions – as well as coffee mornings for Asian elders from north Croydon.  Led by a steering group made up of participants, the Visible Elders Project aims to bring residents from different Asian backgrounds together.

We met Elsie, a service user at the Centre, who told us how it had kept her from social isolation.  “We’re very diverse, but we share our common things with each other,” she said.  “I’ve made friends here, I interact with a lot of people.  The centre helps me personally, especially the tai chi – it keeps my brain occupied at all times.  Thank you.”

Elsie’s story is not untypical of the service users at the Centre.  “Social isolation is a silent killer – nationally, it’s an issue,” observed Ima Miah, chief executive officer at ARCC.  “We have the same issue in Croydon.  But we are enriching people’s lives, and we know this because of the feedback that we get from our group.  We believe our project is making a direct impact on reducing people’s social isolation, on increasing their health and their friendships within the community.”

ARCC were in attendance at The Health Lottery’s afternoon tea reception in October 2018.  Seeing the joy of so many service users was truly inspiring for us.  When we asked service user Raffat what the best part of being part of ARCC was, she said “Literally everyone in the group!  Thank you a hundred times, thank you so much – and keep doing it!”

To hear more from ARCC and find out about the Visible Elders Project, please have a look at our video above.

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