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

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, but it is 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 than those in any other age group. In general, there is both low awareness of drinking recommendations, and an overall increase in consumption levels in the over 50s.

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

You should always consider your own circumstances, 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, and 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 consider speaking to your GP if you feel you require support to 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.

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

We have also developed an older people and alcohol tool kit which is 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 practitioners and is completely free and confidential and offer 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 the contribution of 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 concessionary 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 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 in letting the driver know you have a disability or need help. You can use them to let the driver know you have hearing difficulties 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 open spaces.

People sat on bench in park

Age Friendly exercise and physical health opportunities

Age UK Barnsley have put together a guide to some of the brilliant opportunities available for people to engage with in the Barnsley area.

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

Find out more in the exercise and physical health opportunities guide.

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.

Whilst the participation is great, it is not the essence. We've been contacted by other teams wanting to play friendly games. This increases our social circle and adds a touch of competitiveness and anticipation to our sessions. One of our players commented that he was "that excited he hadn’t slept the night before".

Whist the anticipation and excitement add 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. We have friends, we have camaraderie. 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, see how they fit in with our group, enjoy the banter, get out of the house and how they enjoy playing. Alleviating 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 professionals in the borough to help promote the conversation 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 that can provide support.

Moving more is even more important for those people who may be living with a long term health condition or who have experienced a recent illness. There are lots of support available through the We are Undefeatable and 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 and 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 has been successful in obtaining over £200,000 of funding for a pilot project which 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 electricity bills.

Funded through the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, this research project will see more consumption of solar power directly by individual households – up to 85%, and less being spilt onto the national grid.

Berneslai Homes will be identifying households to participate and they will also be installing the batteries. Age UK Barnsley’s Information and Advice Service will be upskilled to work alongside the tenants’ involved providing reassurance and guidance as to how to make the best of this fantastic opportunity. As well as providing advice on how to best use their solar panels and battery, 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, digitalised and flexible future. It follows on from our initial solar installations, 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.       

Take a Seat Barnsley

Take a Seat Barnsley is a new campaign in response to various consultations and conferences where older people in Barnsley have expressed their wish for more seating to enable them to get out and about. The location, design and size of the seats will vary across the borough. Some will be outdoors, some urban, some rural, whilst others may be in shops or indoor areas.

This is a great new initiative, which is not just for Barnsley’s older people, it’s for everyone. The aim is to encourage people to get out and about more by providing suitable stopping places, which will hopefully help combat the physical deconditioning that’s affected people as a result of the pandemic.

Take a Seat Bench launch IMG_20210721_110100047_HDR.jpg

Take a seat in Wombwell Park

Our second 'Take a Seat Barnsley' bench has been installed in Wombwell Park.

Everyone who attended the launch thought it was a great addition to the park with a lovely aspect, and preferred it to other benches which often have a higher seating position. One lady told us "us walkers like to sit and rest a while, and this is a great bench".

Sylvia, who was walking with her dog Skye, is just regaining her confidence in coming back outside after an illness. She said "I will use this bench often as a place to rest and reflect". Sabeena and Dave, two volunteers from the Friends Of Wombwell Park group, said they were "thrilled with the new addition".

Take a seat Barnsley benches

Take a seat in Penistone

Our latest 'Take a Seat Barnsley' bench has been installed in Penistone, at the Hackings Avenue/Mortimer Road Junction on the road to Cubley Hall.

Everyone who attended the launch thought it was a great location - on a steep hill, at a popular junction and near a bus stop, so there are plenty of opportunities for it to be used. Joanne told us "halfway up the hill is the perfect spot, just the right place to catch your breath and take in the view".

Joanne and Beth brought their youngsters along to help make this a real Age Friendly Barnsley moment, reminding us it’s more than just being ‘old age friendly’, as important as that is.

Photos show left to right:

Karen Dennis (Age UK Barnsley), Tanya Dickinson (Barnsley Council Penistone Area Team), Jayne Sagar (Berneslai Homes), Joanne Toner, her friend Beth and their families, and Jolene Allan (Barnsley Council).  

Also, two local residents taking in the view and enjoying a well earned rest in the springtime sun.

Staff and residents at the new Age Friendly Barnsley bench in Penistone 2 local residents sat on the new Age Friendly Barnsley bench in Penistone Age Friendly Barnsley bench in Penistone

Take a seat in Oxspring

To celebrate our latest Take a seat Barnsley bench in Oxspring, we have Ann Walker from the Oxspring parish council and member of Penistone ward alliance. Oxspring residents Mr and Mrs Mitchell, Tanya Dickinson from Penistone area team and Christopher Booth from Healthier Communities.

Take a seat Barnsley Bench Oxspring Oxspring Take a seat Barnsley Bench Take a seat Barnsley Bench Oxspring badge

Take a seat in Darton park

The latest Age Friendly 'Take a Seat Barnsley' bench has been installed in Darton Park.
What a glorious day it was to celebrate its installation. Along with ladies from Age UK Barnsley’s Darton walking group, who helped decide the location, representatives from Barnsley Council’s Parks Department, Healthier Communities, North Area Team and local Councillor Trevor Cave all came along. The ‘Take a Seat Barnsley’ project is a real partnership effort and is seeing more seating opportunities across the borough for people of all ages.

The ladies are thrilled with it ‘It’s just the job, it’s an ideal spot on this side of the park.’
Local Darton West Councillor Trevor Cave added “I visit Darton Park regularly with my dogs and since the new bench was installed I’ve had lots of positive comments from park users about it. Lots of people stop and sit for a while during their walk around the new footpath. People have been asking for a bench in that location for some time so it’s really good that Age Friendly Barnsley were able to provide one for that site.”

Photo shows left to right:

Photo Front Wilma, Irene, Anne, Delia (Darton Ladies Walking Group), rear Russ Boland BMBC Parks, Leslie (Walking Group), Rosie Adams BMBC North Area Manager Cllr Trevor Cave, Chris Booth BMBC Healthier Communities

People sat on a bench in Darton park

Age Friendly Barnsley Festival 2022

After a very successful event last year that took place between 27 September and 1 October 2021, we're pleased to announce the festival will be running again this year and more information will follow soon.  

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