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Archwood 55 Plus gets seniors out and about

Group born out of closure of local Age & Opportunity chapter

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A new organization wants to get seniors out of the house and socializing with others — and they’ll come pick you up if they have to.


Archwood 55 Plus is a not-for-profit organization based at Archwood Community Centre in St. Boniface.


Board member Erith Manby says the group was created after Age & Opportunity closing its St. Boniface/St. Vital chapter at Southdale Community Centre last year.


"A group of us who volunteered at Southdale decided we wanted to go somewhere else where we could hold social events," Manby explained.


While there is continued programming at Southdale, she said, it’s a busy centre without much available space.


The new location works better because most of its programs are run at night, while the seniors want to hold events during the day.


"During the day is when Archwood is not being used. Period," she said. "We have free run of Archwood."


Archwood 55 Plus runs diverse social activities, including a monthly luncheon. Plans are underway to hold social afternoons on Fridays.


The group has also organized a number of day trips to locations such as Grand Forks and Portage la Prairie, said Manby, who lives in Southdale.


Jean Mohammed, a Windsor Park resident who also sits on the board of Archwood 55 Plus, said social isolation is a real concern.


"There’s a lot of seniors now and some of them don’t go anywhere and don’t do anything," she said. "Some of them never leave their apartments."


Manby said that’s why the group arranges transportation for seniors who may not be able to get to the centre by themselves for the social events.


Beyond that offering, Archwood 55 Plus also holds a number of fitness classes — though seniors have to get themselves to the centre for those, Manby said.


The slate of classes offered include yoga, zumba, and pole walking, said Manby.


"We’re trying to get our seniors out more to do exercise, but it’s also to socialize," she said. "Otherwise, they wouldn’t have an outlet."


Coreen Campbell, a member of Archwood 55 Plus, lives in North Kildonan but says the trip across town is worth it.


"They’re a new group, so they’re all gung-ho," said Campbell, who was a member of Age & Opportunity before it shut down.


Since holding an open house in April, the group has signed up more than 150 members. About 85% are some of the 600 seniors who belonged to the old Age & Opportunity chapter, but many are brand new to the group, said Manby.


She added it’s not a problem if someone already belongs to another group.


"The more the merrier," she said.


Mohammed said what’s special about Archwood 55+ is that it’s programming run for seniors that is organized by their peers.


"I think seniors will know the needs of seniors," she said. "We’re always open to suggestions on what they want to do."


Archwood Community Centre is located at 565 Guilbault St.


For more information about Archwood 55 Plus, call Erith at 253-1779, Jean at 255-2223 or Melinda at 962-3331 or e-mail archwood55@gmail.com
 
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