Community and volunteering

Support and activities

There's a range of age friendly support services and activities for older people available in Barnsley. You can find out more below, or for more information email enquiries@ageukbarnsley.org.uk

Older people and alcohol

Alcohol can be an enjoyable activity for adults of all ages. The maximum recommended weekly alcohol units for adults is 14. However it's advised that older people consume less as it takes our bodies longer to process alcohol as we age. Although there are some suggested benefits of alcohol consumption, they are only reaped when drinking at a low level.

In the UK, people aged 55 and over are more likely to exceed the recommended weekly alcohol consumption.  Compared to those in any other age group. In general, there is both low awareness of drinking guidance, and an overall increase in consumption levels in the over 50s.

The key, especially for older people, is to find a balance.  Balancing enjoyment, drinking safely and the harm excess alcohol consumption may cause. This will be unique to each person. Although there is generic advice for older people to drink less than the maximum recommended 14 units.

You should always consider your own needs, such as your current physical and mental health and any medication you may be taking. Even if you were once able to tolerate high levels of alcohol, your tolerance will reduce as you age.  The effect alcohol has on your body is more intense and will last longer than it did when you were younger. 

Support available in Barnsley

You may want to speak to your GP if you feel you need support.  They could help you work out a healthy level of drinking.

If you would like to talk with someone in confidence about your drinking. Help is available from Barnsley Recovery Steps or by calling them on 01226 779066.

Do you want to understand your drinking behaviours. Then take the DrinkCoach Alcohol Test test to see if you qualify for free sessions with an alcohol specialist.

We've also developed an older people and alcohol tool kit. It's a handy guide for practitioners or anyone working with older people and who are concerned about someone's drinking behaviours. The tool kit can also be used by older people themselves if they wish to understand their alcohol use and possible related harm.

Age Friendly alcohol support and helpline         

Drink Wise Age Well have launched a dedicated helpline for people over the age of 50 struggling with alcohol. The helpline is monitored by experienced staff and offers free advice. Support and advice is also available for older people who are suffering from loneliness and isolation.

You can call Drink Wise Age Wells' helpline on 0808 8010750 on weekdays between 12pm and 8pm and 10am to 4pm on weekends. 

Find out more about Drink Well Age Wells' advice on drinking.

Age Friendly volunteering

Many community services in the borough benefit from volunteers and recognise the wellbeing benefits to volunteers themselves.

Find out more about volunteering in Barnsley.

Read Age-Friendly Barnsley's inclusive volunteering booklet.

Age Friendly travelling in Barnsley

Senior pass

If you’re of retirement age, you can apply for a free bus pass. Find out more about applying for a senior bus pass or call (01709) 515151.

The senior pass will give free travel on local bus and tram services within South Yorkshire.  You can use it between 9.30 am and 11 pm on weekdays, any time at weekends and bank holidays.

You can also travel for half fare on Northern train services for travel between stations in South Yorkshire. The pass also applies for local bus services in all other parts of England.

Free travel to hospital appointments

Pass holders can also use Stagecoach buses in South Yorkshire to travel free of charge to their hospital appointments before 9.30am.

Journey assistance cards

Journey assistance cards are useful.  You can let the driver know you have a disability or need help. You can use them to let the driver know you have hearing needs or need time to sit down as well as a range of other things. These are available from The Information Centre at the Interchange and the Age UK Barnsley on Eldon Street.  Find out more about journey assistance cards or call Traveline, South Yorkshire’s transport helpline on 01709 515151.

Barnsley's wonderful parks and open spaces

All of our parks are as accessible and age friendly as it's possible to make them. Find out about our parks and green spaces.

People sat on bench in park

Age Friendly exercise and physical health options

Barnsley Older People Physical Activity Alliance have put together a directory. It has a wide range of brilliant activity options people can get involved in.

Whether it’s gentle exercise or something more challenging.  Team sports or person or group exercise, from gardening to football there’s something for everyone.

Find out how you can keep fit and well.  Join new classes, Yoga, Tai Chi, Healthy Bones, Bowls, Walking Football and more.  You can view the directory or ring Age UK Barnsley (01226) 776820.

Age Friendly sports - walking football

Case study: Paul Kay, Wombwell Main Football Club

I was asked what walking football has meant to our club and to me, in effect, to capture the essence of what we're doing.

Our club has football teams from under 4s up to adults. We had never really thought about walking football. It was a project that sparked interest straight away amongst our group of 50 plus-year-olds. My fear was that the interest may decline after the first couple of weeks. The total opposite has happened; we continue to increase numbers week on week.

We've been contacted by other teams wanting to play friendly games. This increases our social circle and adds a touch of competition to our sessions. One of our players commented that he was "that excited he hadn’t slept the night before".

Whilst the excitement adds to the experience, they are not the essence. One of our players turned up with his grandson. The grandad had played football in his 20s and 30s but it was the first time that the grandson had seen him play. “I didn’t know my grandad was that good” he said as he watched from the side lines. No doubt he would be telling all his school friends about how his grandad scored a wonder goal. That memory will stay with the lad for a long time.

Whilst the skill and memories they create will be remembered for while, they are not the essence. It's easy for members of our football club to take what we have for granted. We are a tight knit group who socialise together, support our football club together, work together and drink together. When you are in that environment you don’t realise how difficult it is for other people. Some people have become lonely and isolated. It's been good to see new faces.  To see how they fit in with our group, enjoy the banter, get out of the house and how they enjoy playing. Helping to ease the social isolation and loneliness is paramount, but it is not the essence.

Playing walking football evokes dreams of times past. We can get up on Saturday morning with something to look forward to. The laughs, the togetherness, the excitement, the memories. For an hour a week we can be 10 years old again, playing with our mates and not having a care in the world.

Wombwell Main walking football team Wombwell Main walking football

What's Your Move

Barnsley’s physical activity campaign, What’s Your Move has launched a move more for better health leaflet. The leaflet has been created with the support of a range of health care staff in the borough. It helps promote talking about moving more as part of daily life. Linking people into all the ways of building positive movement.  From little changes in everyday life through to various activity groups.

Moving more is even more important for those people who may be living with a long term health condition.  Also for those who have experienced a recent illness. There is lots of support available through the We are Undefeatable. Also Moving Medicine to support guidance on this if anyone requires it.  The important thing is that the benefits of being more active far outweigh any potential risks linked to conditions. Being more active is something that everyone can do in their own way to contribute to better physical and mental health.

Partnership working to support older people's homes with solar panels

Ground-breaking energy partnership looking to the future

A partnership between Age UK Barnsley, Berneslai Homes and Energise Barnsley working together. They've been successful in obtaining over £200,000 of funding for a pilot project. This will see 75 Berneslai Homes’ properties for older people having batteries installed to complement their existing solar panels. The ‘Smart Solar’ project will potentially see savings of up to 30-40% off people’s current electric bills.

Funded through the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme. This research project will see more use of solar power directly by households.  Up to 85%, and less being spilt onto the national grid.

Berneslai Homes will be finding households to participate and they'll also be installing the batteries. Age UK Barnsley’s Information and Advice Service will be upskilled to work alongside tenants’. They'll provide reassurance and guidance and making the best of this fantastic offer. Providing advice on how to best use their solar panels and battery.  Also advice will be given on value for money tariffs and benefits checks can also be carried out.

Energise Barnsley is very excited to be part of this partnership project. The project continues our work with Berneslai Homes tenants to move towards a domestic decarbonised, digital and flexible future. It follows on from our initial solar project.  Solar and storage network study and current domestic demand-side response project for BEIS. We are determined that our tenants receive the full benefits of the future low carbon flexible grid, and are not left behind.' Wendy Lowder, Chair Energise Barnsley.       

Barnsley Third Sector Dementia Alliance

Barnsley Third Sector Dementia Alliance brings together a range of local organisations. They support people living with dementia, and their carers. Our members provide a wide range of services and specialist support for people at all stages of their dementia journey. The Alliance is an vital part of Age Friendly Barnsley. Our partnership that supports and champions older people throughout our borough.

Find out more on the Dementia Friendly Barnsley website and the AGE UK Barnsley Facebook page

Barnsley Third Sector Dementia Alliance

Practical advice on how to feel your best as you get older

There are simple steps you can take to continue to live a healthy and independent life as your body ages.

If you have concerns about your health, contact your GP or pharmacist who can provide further advice. If you need urgent medical help (that isn’t life threatening) please call 111. You can also visit the online service.

There are some website links to some general and health advice which might helpful. Find out more about:

Barnsley Older People Physical Activity Alliance (BOPPAA)

The BOPPAA offers a wide range of fun activities across the borough to help get older people moving.

Funded by Barnsley Council and led by Age UK Barnsley, BOPPAA offers fun and social ways to stay active and improve your strength and balance. Whether you’re looking for tai chi, aqua aerobics or walking sports, there’s something for everyone.

Find BOPPAA activities in your area

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