Community and volunteering

Our Age Friendly Barnsley Awards are proudly presented to services, projects, initiatives, people, or groups that embody the age friendly spirit.

These awards celebrate some wonderful approaches to making our borough age friendly.

Please have a look at some great examples, including intergenerational projects, sporting opportunities and community involvement.

Award winners

Tankersley community volunteer

Ron Mellor receives Age Friendly Barnsley Award in recognition of his work in the community.

Age Friendly Barnsley are proud to present our latest Age Friendly Award to Tankersley resident and dedicated community volunteer Ron Mellor.

Ron was nominated by Lily, for all the work he does in the community to make everyone feel welcome and included. Ron is dedicated to supporting older residents at Glebe Court, Tankersley, always ensuring no-one is left alone and without friendship and company. He runs two bingo games a week, a quiz and a weekly Knit and Natter group to tackle social isolation and loneliness.

Ron is passionate about bringing people together and ensuring nobody is left out or lonely, even providing lifts to those who might otherwise struggle to get there. A surprise presentation was saved for Lily (12) who works alongside Ron at many of the events in her free time.

Age UK Barnsley CEO said “We’re very proud to be presenting an Age Friendly Barnsley Award to Ron, in recognition of his incredible work in the local community. He is dedicated to supporting older people in Tankersley, ensuring that no-one is left without kindness and support. It is also incredibly heartening to see the intergenerational friendship between Ron and Lily. They really have a special bond and together do such important work to support older people in the community. Well done Ron on a very well-deserved award!”

Ron Mellor being presented with the Age Friendly Community Award

Barnsley singers scoop December Age Friendly Barnsley Award

The Barnsley Singers Community Choir has been awarded the Age Friendly Barnsley Award. It was given because of their outstanding work done to tackle social isolation and loneliness.

Formed in 2016, the Barnsley Singers rehearse weekly at Barnsley Sixth Form College. They're always on the hunt for new members to get involved. No experience is needed, you just need to be willing to get stuck in and have fun.

Barnsley Singers accepting award

Barnsley Singers member and Age UK Barnsley Chair Tricia Watters said:

"I've been a member of this lovely community choir since it first started in 2016. Age is no bar to joining, our oldest member is 80 and the youngest is 25! In all our activities, care and thought is given to us older folk. We rehearse in the Sixth Form College in Barnsley town centre. It has great access - I've personally got in easily on elbow crutches! We managed to keep going through all the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic. We rehearsed on Zoom, in small groups in a farmyard and performed full performances in masks for months. We're back to normal now and wanting to build our numbers back. We're a big choir that makes a wonderful sound. There are no auditions so even if you've never sung before you'll be made welcome. Research clearly shows that singing is good for your mental and physical health. Singing together is an ideal way to overcome social isolation."

Large group of Barnsley Singers

Barnsley Third Sector Dementia Alliance wins

Councillor Jenny Platts presented an Age Friendly Barnsley Award to The Barnsley Third Sector Dementia Alliance. They celebrated their first anniversary in April 2022.  The award recognised their outstanding work supporting people living with dementia and their carers in Barnsley.

Over the last year, the Dementia Alliance has gone from strength-to-strength. Getting services and support groups back running in the aftermath of COVID-19. Delivering vitally important advice to people diagnosed with dementia. Also commissioning an independent survey to shape future service delivery.

Linda Pattison, Chief Executive of BIADS and Chair of the Barnsley Third Sector Dementia Alliance, said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to have been recognised for the outstanding partnership working.  Taking place through the Barnsley Third Sector Dementia Alliance. Supporting people living with dementia and their carers here in Barnsley.

“Over the last year, the Alliance has supported 911 people living with dementia and affected by memory loss. We’ve distributed 1,352 information packs to people at the beginning of their dementia journey through Barnsley Hospital, the Memory Team and at events.   We have established a single point of contact telephone line and online directory to keep people informed about what’s going on.

“We are excited and optimistic about what the next year, and beyond, will bring for the Alliance as we continue to support local people affected by dementia and their carers.”

Commenting, the Chief Executive of Age UK Barnsley said:

“We’re very proud to be presenting the Barnsley Third Sector Dementia Alliance with the Age Friendly Barnsley Award. The Alliance has been instrumental in changing the landscape of support for people living with dementia.  It’s truly a demonstration of what exceptional partnership working looks like.

“I have every confidence that the Dementia Alliance will continue to go from strength-to-strength and keep on providing first-class specialist support for those who need these services the most.”

Third sector dementia alliance

A Shed Load of Awards!

The latest Age Friendly Barnsley Awards for April 2022 are breaking new ground.

Instead of one award, three awards are being presented at the same time to groups across Barnsley who share a common factor as being a part of the Men in Sheds movement.

The groups that have been recognised are the volunteer run Age UK Barnsley Men in Sheds projects in central Barnsley and Penistone as well as the Barnsley Men’s Shed and She Shed Association project based at Worsbrough.  

They've been presented with Age Friendly Barnsley Awards. In recognition of their brilliant work in providing opportunities for men, and at the She Shed for women.  This is for over 50s to meet and learn new skills together socially but not only that, they've contributed to communities across Barnsley through their work and skills. They've provided seating and planters in various locations across the borough.  As well as supporting a local theatre group with prop making. Various work with schools and even the outdoor seating on the open upstairs area at the Library @ the Lightbox amongst other things.  

Jane Holliday voluntary sector lead of Age Friendly Barnsley commented: ‘“We are so fortunate in Barnsley to have access to such a wide range of activities as we get older.  Not only do the Sheds’ activities bring people together socially but they help us to keep people developing skills and being creative. Through their community projects, they support so many other individuals, groups and organisations too. Well done to everyone involved.’

Age friendly awards 2022 shed group

Left to right on group photo: Alan Starkey (Age UK Barnsley Central Men in Sheds Project), Claire Hogley (Healthier Communities BMBC), Chris Booth (Healthier Communities BMBC), Sandra Potesta (Barnsley She Shed), Philip Jackson (Barnsley Men’s Shed), Tina Heaton (Deputy CEO, Age UK Barnsley), Gary Sutton (Age UK Barnsley Penistone Men in Sheds), Bob Stephens (Age UK Barnsley Penistone Men in Sheds).

Age friendly awards 2022 she shed

 Men's Shed and She Shed

Age friendly awards 2022 shed central

Shed Central 

Age friendly awards 2022 shed Penistone

Shed Penistone

The Snap Tin Cafe Goldthorpe

The latest Age Friendly Barnsley Award goes to The Snap Tin Café Goldthorpe. The Snap Tin is a community café and hub as well as a training kitchen that works with a diverse range of people in the community including people with learning difficulties.

The café team includes mother and daughter Anita Heatherglen and Katie Wood along with their colleague Julie Hutchinson. 

As well as providing training opportunities, the café acts as a base for many local groups providing a welcoming, supportive venue for community groups to gather including both health and wellbeing related groups as well as groups for people with shared hobbies and interests such as sewing and playing the ukulele.Bringing people together, whoever they are and whatever age they are, is a key element of what the café does for the local community.

Jane Holliday, CEO of Age UK Barnsley had this to say: 

"The Snap Tin Café has been an important part of the Dearne Community for a number of years now. As well as being a working café it is so much more in terms of what it brings to the lives of the people that use it. It is lovely to be able to recognise its contribution with an Age Friendly Barnsley award. Long may its work continue."

Wendy Lowder, Barnsley Council’s Executive Director, Adults and Communities said: 

"I visited the Snap Tin Café in 2021 and in doing so was blown away by the breadth of support they deliver, so much more than a café it’s a real community hub, connecting and supporting people often at times of real challenge, so valued by local people and very well deserved."

You can contact the Snap Tin Cafe via email at, by phone on 01709 252272 or you can find The Snap Tin on Facebook.

Age Friendly Barnsley Awards - Snap Tin Cafe

The photograph shows Anita (left) and Katie (right) with their award.

Age Friendly Barnsley award goes to local fitness instructor

The Age Friendly Barnsley Award for October, and a massive thank you, goes to Bronia Warden.

Bronia has been active in Barnsley for many years leading Healthy Bones Sessions with specialist, evidence based, exercise and social groups to prevent older people from having falls. This has not always been easy, but Bronia is determined to help us all stay active and safe.

In 2020 around 13,000 people in Barnsley aged over 65 had a fall and around 1500 of these were admitted to hospital. This figure is likely to rise this year due to people being less active during the pandemic. 

Jane Holliday, CEO at Age UK Barnsley, had this to say:

"Bronia has worked with older people for many years as a postural stability instructor. As a result of the pandemic her expertise is more valuable and necessary than ever. The award recognises Bronia’s contribution towards falls prevention amongst Barnsley’s older people."

Bronia is currently working as part of Barnsley Older People Physical Activity Alliance (BOPPAA) alongside a range of organisations aimed at keeping us healthy in older age. BOPPAA has been commissioned and funded by Barnsley Council to tackle what is seen as a growing issue.

Bronia is currently delivering Healthy Bones sessions right across Barnsley. They are free for the first 6 weeks and after this just £3 for each session. For details, please contact Bronia on 07895 380615 or ring Age UK Barnsley on 01226 776820 to find out what other activities are available through BOPPAA.

Wendy Lowder, Executive Director – Adults and Communities at Barnsley Council, commented:

"So pleased that Bronia has won the October Award. Having joined one of Bronia’s groups previously the exercises start from where people are at, building confidences and strength but also connecting people and building new relationships. I’d recommend anyone to take a step, join a group you won’t be disappointed."

Age Friend award 12 Bronia and Wendy

Age Friendly award 12 Bronia

Intergenerational Project in Thurlstone

Age Friendly Barnsley awards – it’s a win-win

The latest Age Friendly Barnsley Awards (for August and September 2021) go to the older and younger sides of the same innovative Intergenerational Project in Thurlstone. The August Award goes to Brian Johnson, a local woodworker, who has kindly given his time to create Bug Hotels that were then given to our September Award winners, the children of Thurlstone Primary School who decorated them and put them in place in the grounds. Bug hotels are really important as they provide a safe environment for minibeasts like bees, ladybirds and spiders to lay their eggs, raise their young and take refuge from predators. The children have learnt about their environment and contributed to its sustainability.

Jane Holliday CEO of Age UK Barnsley commented: ‘Having older and younger people working together to protect our environment has never been more important. Well done to everyone involved!’

The school has also got involved in writing letters to local older people and has just produced a new batch for distribution. Brian and the school also have some interesting plans for future working together.

Age Friendly Barnsley Awards - Brian Johnson and Thurlstone Primary School

The photos show Brian with his award and Charlie Gibbins head teacher at Thurlstone Primary alongside her deputy Kate Brown receiving their award on behalf of the school.

Benefits department - Barnsley Council

The Age Friendly Barnsley Award for July 2021 goes to the benefits department at Barnsley MBC for tackling digital exclusion and substantially increasing public access to services. Their response to being asked to consider people without access to the internet was positive and helpful.

Jane Holliday, CEO of Age UK Barnsley who is the lead on Age Friendly Barnsley, presented the award to Lisa Smith, Head of Service – Benefits and Taxation together with Margurite Hamilton Business and Taxation Manager in the presence of Wendy Lowder Executive Director - Adults and Communities at Barnsley MBC.

In presenting the award Jane had this to say: "We put forward the concerns of people in Barnsley and the benefits department have responded positively to those concerns. We are grateful to them for what they have done and they are thoroughly deserving of this award for making a real difference to people of all ages who for whatever reason can’t access information and forms online."

The team at the council have produced a ‘Help to understand your Council Tax bill’ sheet which goes out with the bills. This covers everything from online options to texting, easy read, large print, British Sign Language video relay service, translation options (including by phone) and a telephone helpline 01226 787787 which can also be used for Housing Benefit enquiries as can the other options apart from the text service. Also, if people have enquiries about Blue Badges for parking they can call 01226 773555.

Age Friendly Barnsley promotes the idea of making the Barnsley area a good place to grow old in. It’s not just about ‘older’ people. Initiatives like the one taken by the council's benefits department make life easier for everyone who would otherwise be digitally excluded. It’s about making things available and accessible to the widest range of people.

Age Friendly Barnsley presenting award to BMBC benefits dept

Wendy Lowder, Executive Director of Adults and Communities said: If we are to create an Age Friendly Barnsley everyone needs to play their part. This month’s award is well deserved as the benefits team in Barnsley Council reflected on their approach, connected with the lived experiences of some members of our community and adapted the way they engaged appreciating that not everyone has the digital confidences and kit – well done.

Mac's walking cricket success at Barnsley U3A

Mac McKechnie has received an Age Friendly Award for his commitment to Walking Cricket. Mac has had a lifetime interest in cricket and first started delivering Walking Cricket at Barnsley u3a.  It soon took off and now there are teams in Rotherham, Doncaster, Wakefield and York. Since then Mac has been appointed by the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation as Manager of the newly formed Yorkshire Walking Cricket team.

Mac receiving and Age Friendly Barnsley Award

Jane Holliday CEO of Age UK Barnsley said:
 Physical activity is more important than ever for older people to help with wellbeing and mobility. This is a great opportunity to celebrate people like Mac that develop these opportunities alongside those people that are discovering new ways of enjoying the sports they love into older age.

Wendy Lowder Executive Director Adults and Communities said: I'm so pleased to give this month’s Age Friendly award to Mac for his passion and commitment to developing cricket as an accessible sport. Too often people can become disengaged with physical exercise either due to age or disability. Mac has worked tirelessly to develop walking cricket in Barnsley supporting people to re-engage with the sport and reconnect with people who have a shared love of cricket. Whether you’re batting, bowling or fielding it’s a great way to get some physical exercise and some social time.

Dementia Action Alliance

One of the central themes of being Age-Friendly is the way that our communities support us through the ageing process. For people living with dementia, it is particularly important that they can remain independent for as long as possible and enjoy the facilities in Barnsley. The Age-Friendly Barnsley Award for May 2021 goes to Christine Key, the Barnsley Lead of the Dementia Action Alliance. For several years, Christine has given up many hours of her own time to work with a wide range of customer-facing businesses and services, to help them become Dementia Friendly, tackle stigma and raise awareness about dementia. Dementia Action Week will start from Monday 17 May to Sunday 23 May and it is fitting that we celebrate a local hero that has given so much to help us on our journey to be Age-Friendly Barnsley.

Christine AFB  Wendy cropped

Wendy Lowder, Executive Director Adults and Communities, said: I was so pleased to give this month’s Age Friendly Award to Christine, who has been working tirelessly on the Barnsley Dementia Action Alliance. Her determination and passion shines through for such an important area for us all.

Jane Holliday, CEO at Age UK Barnsley said: ’At Age UK Barnsley we have worked with Christine for a number of years and her commitment and dedication to Barnsley and issues around Dementia have always been outstanding. She is a thoroughly deserving recipient of an Age Friendly Barnsley Award.’

Walk Well Barnsley

Walk Well Barnsley is part of the country-wide Walking for Health initiative and have received an Age-Friendly Barnsley award for their work supporting people to get into walking. 

The staff and volunteers support a range of walking groups across the Barnsley Borough for people of all ages and abilities. The aim is to involve people with long-term health conditions. They work in partnership with a range of organisations and offer Walk Leader Training. Many walks are led by volunteers and the people taking part really enjoy and benefit from them. Initiatives like Walk Well Barnsley are invaluable in helping our local people build their activity and resilience levels out in the fresh air.  There are lots of opportunities like this in Barnsley.

If you are over 50 and want to know more about contact Age UK Barnsley on 01226 776820.

Walk Well Barnsley.jpg

Age UK Barnsley CEO Jane Holliday said: Walk Well Barnsley is a great scheme for people of all ages, particularly people with long-term health conditions. Their walks are a great way to be more active, improve your health and make new friends. You go at your own pace and the walks are led by trained leaders and are free to attend. The award is well-deserved for their contribution to the health of Barnsley folk of all ages.   

Wendy Lowder, Executive Director of Adults and Communities said: We know that taking that first step to a more active lifestyle can be challenging for the best of us, having groups like Walk Well Barnsley Walking for Health, that are supportive and encouraging can really help people not just get more active, connect with others, discover some of the beautiful green spaces we have across the town and of course have fun while doing it. Well deserved.

South Yorkshire Probation Service

South Yorkshire Probation Service has received an Age-Friendly Barnsley for the work they have done in partnership with Age Uk to deliver food parcels, wellbeing packs and support with home-based activities for vulnerable older people. They have not only taken on the heavy and hard work of delivering these important resources but they have also been a cheery point of contact that has made people feel valued. One of our residents from the North East Area said: It was lovely to know people care so much to do this, it made me cry, thank you. 

Age friendly Barnsley awards - South Yorkshire Probation Service

Cafe Creme

Cafe Creme and Karen Tyas have received and Age Friendly Barnsley award for their support to people of the Penistone Area. They have sold calendars to benefit local charities, made tray bakes for distribution to older people, supported vulnerable people to get the help they need and ensured that their business is Dementia Friendly. 

Karen Cafe Creme

Wendy Lowder, Executive Director of Adults and Communities said: Café Crème is a shining example of businesses stepping up and supporting our communities throughout the pandemic. Local businesses have been critical to neighbourhoods and the people in them – supporting them in so many ways. They know the communities and the people in them, can form great partnerships and do great things. A huge thank you to Karen and her team.

Barnsley U3A

Barnsley U3A has received the first Age-Friendly Barnsley award for their amazing work delivering leisure, creative, social and learning activities for older people living in the Barnsley Borough. Barnsley U3A has been a supportive member of Age Friendly Barnsley, this year being their 25th anniversary we were pleased to present them with this award.

There are around 1200 members of Bu3a and outside of the pandemic, they provide around 130 groups encouraging people to learn new skills, socialize and maintain high spirits. Alan Swann, chair of Bu3a, accepted the Age-Friendly Barnsley award on behalf of the organisation.

Alan Swan receiving award

Wendy Lowder, Executive Director of Adults and Communities said: Congratulations to U3A and Happy 25th Anniversary. I commend U3A for their tireless efforts in delivering such a varied programme of activities and support, particularly in such challenging times. So many people across Barnsley benefit from this reflecting the spirit of Age-Friendly Barnsley and supporting people to be the best they can be regardless of age.

Horizon Community College

Horizon Community College have received an Age Friendly Barnsley award after they have been donating groceries from home to Age UK Barnsley with around 70 Christmas Hampers. Age UK Barnsley distributes these hampers to older people throughout our borough and visit the students at Horizon to raise awareness of their work and the issues facing older people. Horizon students also send out Christmas cards and have been involved in some great new initiatives h such as Intergenerational Pen-pals. 

Horizon - age friendly barnsley


Age UK Barnsley identified that 65% of people using COVID-19 services didn’t have the internet, and this digital exclusion means people can’t always access the services they need. During the COVID-19 pandemic, due to travel restrictions and shielding, people have struggled with their food shopping.  Whilst local retailers have been really flexible, supermarkets have been restricted to online. 

Morrisons have responded by creating a telephone grocery service where older and vulnerable people can ring 0345 6116111 to order their shopping, which is delivered to their home the next day, from their local store. This service has made a massive difference to people's lives, enabling them to get their supermarket shopping delivered, even though they’re not online.  This helps maintain their independence and wellbeing, and is why we want to acknowledge and thank Morrisons supermarket in Barnsley for being Age-Friendly.

Morrisons - age friendly Barnsley