Rotherham rugby club sessions just the tonic for elderly

Elderly folk enjoying their time with the Titans
Elderly folk enjoying their time with the Titans
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A South Yorkshire rugby club has been recognised in a BBC documentary for its work with lonely pensioners.

Rotherham Titans Rugby Club is tackling the issue of pensioner loneliness with quizzes, match tickets, lunches and walks.

GPs in the town are part of the social prescription service - instead of giving out pills, they are sending people with a risk of loneliness and isolation to ‘Titans Together’ funded by Rotherham Council.

The scheme has been a lifeline for people who use it - like Grace Thompson, aged 82, of East Dene, Rotherham.

Grace, who featured in the documentary said: “Tuesday morning and the weekend games are the highlight of my week - I was close to taking my own life when the doctor arranged for me to come here. But now it’s changed my life completely.”

Another person to benefit is Val Deakin, 70, of Maltby.

When her husband died last year she was left devastated by loneliness and ill health as she tried to adapt to life without him.

She said: “The players look out for me and they’re the first to notice if I’m looking ill or down.

“We get treated so well here - I love the lads and they sit with us for hours chatting and eating. I don’t know how I’d have managed without this.”

Michael Sylvestre, events manager at Rotherham Titans, said: “It’s fantastic to see our attendees enjoying themselves knowing we are making a difference.

“It’s always been part of the ethos of the club that we get involved in our community and I believe that we are one of the only clubs to include it in the players contracts that they help out.

“They love the games and are very vocal singing ‘we are the Titans’ every week.

“It lifts the atmosphere around the club and the players love having them.”

Watch www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05pntyx