York 50+ Festival lines up 80 events from walks to talks, hockey to chatty benches

Country dancing at the York 50+ Festival

THE York 50+ Festival opens on Saturday with more than 80 events on offer over the week ahead.

“This is the 16th annual festival organised by YOPA – the York Older People’s Assembly – and a small team of volunteers, and the door is now open for people to come together and enjoy themselves by engaging in events they know well and having tasters of events that tickle their fancy,” says festival lynchpin Sue Lister.

“It’s a fine way to shake off the gloom of Covid and join in events, either in person or by sharing online with people from all over the country and abroad. It’s good that the digital world can link people from far and near but we are a sociable species and we need to get together in person too.”

Learning IT skills at York 50+ Festival

Flying the flag for older people in and around York, the York 50+ Festival has “something for almost everyone” in the form of a wide range of social events and open days, talks, walks, sport and active leisure, workshops, classes and “chatty benches”.

“Event organisers are busy with last-minute preparations and there’s a buzz of excitement in homes across the city,” says Sue. “Now is the time to make sure you have a copy of the programme with details of the 80-plus events, either in hand or online.”

The full programme for the September 25 to October 3 festival can be found on the YOPA website at yorkassembly.org.uk/50-festival. Copies are available in all York libraries, community centres and around the city centre, as well as from the YOPA office at Spark: York and the Tourist Information Centre, Museum Street.

Women’s hockey at York 50+ Festival

“Do make sure you can access a copy in whatever format so that you can keep all the organiser and course details to hand for later use,” advises Sue.

Further afield, millions of people around the world are preparing to celebrate International Day for Older Persons on October 1, with more details at un.org/development/desa/ageing/international-day-of-older-persons-homepage.html.

“Across the UK, in cities, towns and villages, the focus will be on the skills, talents, knowledge and expertise of older people,” says Sue. “They have a vast store of lived experience to celebrate and share.”

The Men’s Shed at York 50+ Festival

Then comes Silver Sunday on October 3, with more information at silversunday.org.uk. “Initially launched as a local campaign to tackle loneliness and isolation, Silver Sunday is now a national day where people of all generations can come together by hosting fun and free activities for older people,” says Sue.

“It’s a day where older people can meet new people, visit new places, try new activities and connect with their local communities and the generations around them.”

Enquiries or offers of support for the 2021 York 50+ Festival or future events can be made to festival coordinator Mary Cannon on 01904 332613 or at yorkfiftyfestival@gmail.com.

“It’s a hugely popular annual festival,” says Sue. “Do get involved, make the most of it and enjoy yourself.”