Double celebration for Southall Day Centre
The first day centre in the UK to tailor its services to older people in the Asian community celebrated its 35 anniversary, not only that, one of their longest users Mr. Sammiter Singh celebrated his 100 birthday.
Over 150 people came to the event which was marked with an appearance from the Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Mohammad Aslam. Songs and poetry were specially prepared for the occasion by those that attend the centre.
Southall Day Centre opened in recognition of the change in traditional family patterns in the Asian community. As a growing number of older Asian people are unsupported by their families a space was required to help prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation. The centre not only provides regular activities such as bilingual bingo and yoga but also offers information about the welfare systems and what help is available.
Mr. Singh has had a fascinating life. He joined the 14th Punjab Regiment in 1933, in 1941 he was captured and became a prisoners of war until his release in 1945. After leaving the army he took up farming in the Utter Pradesh State in India. Mr. Singh moved to England in 1991 to be with his family.
Rod Cahill, chief executive of Catalyst Housing:
“There really is nowhere quite like Southall Day Centre. For hundreds of people it is the beating heart of this community. Over the past three decades we have made life easier and better for some of the most vulnerable members across west London – offering friendship and practical help for those who need it most.”
Santosh Kanwar, centre manager:
“In reaching this major milestone we have been witness to many changes around us, we are proud to have grown and developed through our journey to become the thriving centre we are today.
Southall Day Centre was born at a time when there was next to nothing in the way of provision for older people from the Asian Community. From these humble beginnings the centre has become a hub for holistic service delivery to all the communities in Southall and beyond. I look forward to what the future brings and finding new ways to help those that have need of the centre.”
Mr. Singh said:
“I come to the centre everyday to see my friends, without it I would see very few people. Up until six years ago I used to walk here from Ealing Broadway every day. But now that my health isn’t what it used to be I get a lift through dial-a-ride. I would be lost without the centre and unable to see my friends. We share jokes and stories. It keeps me going.”