Blogs | Melting Pot Lunches

Melting Pot Lunch Blog No.1 – The Outdoor City

Over the next few weeks, Age Better in Sheffield are hosting a series of Melting Pot Lunches which will see experts from across the city gathering together to discuss the contents of a range of different blogs.

By Hannah Thornton · February 27, 2018

Over the next few weeks, Age Better in Sheffield are hosting a series of Melting Pot Lunches which will see experts from across the city gathering together to discuss the contents of a range of different blogs. Each of the blogs are related  to combating loneliness across the city in some way, and we’re hoping to take the learning from these lunches to inspire great conversations on social media, and to influence our programme in the future.

The first meeting is taking place on Tuesday 6th March and will be led by The Outdoor City. You can read the blog below which is all about how keeping active helps to keep people well, and allows people to experience connections with others.

Hi, I’m Mike. I’m 58 years old. I live in Sheffield. I’ve lived here all my life. I don’t know anywhere like I know Sheffield.

I live in a terraced house. Nowt special about it, same as all the others really, in a community on the east of the city. I’m not married, well not anymore anyway. I work part-time as a driver. Free time is spent watching TV or surfing the internet.

I’ve got type 2 diabetes, amongst other things, and so I find it hard to get out. In fact, recently I’ve found it hard to do anything. I just can’t seem to motivate myself.

Even though I know Sheffield. I’m not sure Sheffield knows me. Most of the folk I grew up with have left the area. It’s changed. I went to see my GP last week, for my Diabetes, she mentioned that physical activity might help to control my diabetes – as well as the drugs she’s put me on. I hate taking them. I get it and understand that it can help me  – I’m not daft – but I really don’t know where to start. I’ve got no one to help me. I’m on my own. In fact, it would take a miracle for me to become more active…

Mike is fairly typical of a lot of people in Sheffield and certainly of the people that we have interviewed as part of our research with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine and its Move More programme. The question is, if a miracle did happen, and Mike did become more active, what would have changed? What would be the first thing that he would notice? The first minute detail that would be different about his life? Here’s a few thoughts on this;

Mike would wake up, turn on the radio and perhaps there’d be an article on the news about the positive impact that ‘programme X’ was having on people with diabetes in communities through walking. Mike wouldn’t really think too much about it as he busied himself with getting ready. Mike would have breakfast and head outside to his van, he was working today. Only this morning he’d notice people like him walking and cycling past his house instead of the usual stream of heavy traffic. ‘Weird thought Mike’ but he enjoyed the cleaner air as a result. ‘Good Morning’ a passerby would say – how you doing? Not so bad, Mike would reply as he jumped in his van. It felt good to talk to someone, even someone Mike had never met.

Even though it was February and still quite dark outside the street were well lit, which made a real difference to the feel of his community. Mike was surprised what a difference this made as it was normally quite dark and unwelcoming. He felt safe. Mike’s day went as normal. Dropping off parcels around the city. Well almost like normal, he was surprised at how many people he saw outside, lots of them walking and cycling around the city. People like him, all shapes and sizes. He was also surprised by how many of them said hello. It felt like he belonged, like he was part of something, part of a community. He’d not felt like that for a long time and after all this was his City. He loved Sheffield. Mike got home, made a cup of tea and sat in his usual chair ready to watch the box. He could still see people outside his window moving around the streets. Mike had his words from his GP ringing in his ears and had a desire to join them – maybe a walk round the block isn’t that difficult an ask after all Mike thought…

Please join in our conversation on Twitter next Tuesday using #meltingpotlunch. We’d love to hear your thoughts on keeping active, and any thoughts of great enablers or barriers to keeping active that we could support with.