A social club which brings together older men at an outdoor venue in Hackney has been able to expand its activities, thanks to new funding.
Hackney Dudes was founded four years ago to fill a gap in the market for social activities for older men and now runs from Dalston Curve Garden.
The group is now able to offer more activities, including a weekly art group, thanks to £60,100 funding from City Bridge Foundation – London’s biggest independent charity funder.
The ‘Dudes’, co-ordinated by MRS Independent Living, range from those in their 50s to those in their 90s. Other activities include a weekly social group and music group and regular trips out.
Giles Shilson, City Bridge Foundation Chairman, said:
“Hackney Dudes is a real success story, having grown over the past decade into a thriving community where men come together, socialise and support each other.
“We’re really pleased our funding is enabling the group to expand and to enable the members to reap the physical and mental benefits of getting creative in a stunning urban oasis in the company of others.”
The group faced an uncertain future during the pandemic until Dalston Curve Garden stepped in and offered the group use of the outdoor venue, occupying the site of an old railway line.
Vicky Harrison, Hackney Dudes project lead, said:
“A lot of the men when they first come here are quite shy and awkward but they soon start forming bonds and making friends, and that extends outside the group – they get together and do stuff themselves.
“They are really sensitive to each other’s wellbeing and find it easier to talk about any issues they have because it’s an all-male group. We create an environment where they feel safe and can be open. It has a big impact on their lives.”
More information about Hackney Dudes is at: www.mrsindependentliving.org/hackney-dudes.