Hammers help launch 'Any Old Irons' event
PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 November 2016
Trio meet elderly supporters at East Ham Working Men's Club
West Ham United goalkeepers Darren Randolph and Adrian enjoyed a trip down memory lane at the launch of a joint initiative between the West Ham United Foundation and national charity Friends of the Elderly this week.
The pair were joined by Hammers legend and current first team coach Julian Dicks at ‘Any Old Irons’, a project aimed at bringing together fans aged 65 and over to celebrate and explore the club’s rich history, giving those involved the opportunity to bond over their shared love of West Ham United.
Randolph, Adrian and Dicks enjoyed a lively question and answer session with the group of older supporters and then spent time chatting to them personally at the event in east London.
Randolph said: “It was fantastic to meet some of our older supporters and see the passion they have for the club. Some of them have been following West Ham for a very long time and they had some great stories to tell. It’s so nice that they are able to get together at an event like this and share their love of the club.”
Dicks added: “‘Any Old Irons’ is another brilliant initiative from the West Ham United Foundation, in partnership with Friends of the Elderly, to support older people in the West Ham community.
“By bringing together Hammers’ fans who may not be socially active, ‘Any Old Irons’ helps keep vulnerable fans connected; it’s great to see so many supporters from different generations bonding over our club and their shared memories.”
Run in conjunction with the Premier League and the Professional Footballers’ Association, the ‘Any Old Irons’ project is part of the Football Friends programme.
The initiative gives participants the opportunity to connect with other fans and locals in their community, bringing them together for fun and friendship. Those attending can also learn how to stay in touch with their fellow fans and the club using digital technology.
Don Adams, 67, from east London, took part in the first Football Friends programme in March 2015.
After retiring six years ago, Don found there was nothing of interest for him to get involved with and said: “You hear so many things aimed at senior women but little that also includes men. The Football Friends programme has changed my life.
“It’s got me out of the house, it’s got me interacting with other people and I’ve made new friends.”
The ‘Any Old Irons’ event, held regularly at East Ham Working Men’s Club, also provided an example of West Ham United’s ongoing commitment to providing support for the community in and around the Upton Park area.
The project is possible thanks to funding and resource provided by West Ham United Foundation, Friends of the Elderly, the Premier League and PFA.
The PL/PFA Fund supports community projects delivered by professional football clubs, by allowing them to work in partnership with local agencies and charities who deliver programmes that will help and support those taking part. The fund allows clubs to focus on areas of need for their local community and develop partnerships that will look to address these.
Sally McLachlan, senior engagement manager at Friends of the Elderly, said: “We are really excited to be launching our rolling Football Friends programme, Any Old Irons, with West Ham United Foundation. We know that loneliness is an issue for older people for many different reasons.
“This programme not only helps to overcome loneliness, but it also supports prevention, giving participants the confidence to become involved in their local community once again.”
The project takes place at East Ham Working Men’s Club and is open to anyone over the age of 65.
Places are limited and will be allocated on a first reserved basis – those interested in attending should call Friends of the Elderly on 0330 332 1110.