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Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 11:27 UK
Top Time at Suffolk's libraries
Felixstowe Library
The Top Time scheme is for older people and also their carers

Suffolk's libraries are claiming their weekly meetings/social gatherings for older people are taking off.

Despite having a threat of homework, the Top Time scheme is being praised by users across the county.

At Felixstowe Library it meets every Tuesday afternoon and attracts around 30 people.

"We all really enjoy it, if we didn't we wouldn't come would we?" said Mary Hughes, who has been coming to Top Time since the death of her husband.

After the guest speaker, the Top Time group at Felixstowe Library break-out the tea and biscuits with time to catch up with friends and discuss what they've been hearing.

"In order to find out what Felixstowe was like and to meet friends I came to Top Time, it's the highlight of my week," said 78 year-old Eileen Waugh.

The group of 30 or so is mainly made up of women and it meets every Tuesday at 1400 hrs. Eric Lucas and his wife Mavis are the only couple.

"Mavis volunteered me for the theatre group and I was the only man for quite a long time," said Eric.

"I very much like coming to creative writing," said 88 year-old Mary Hackeson who moved to Felixstowe from Birmingham ten years ago.

"We often have a bit of homework and you think to yourself 'oh dear I haven't done it' and you give yourself a prod.

Mavis and Eric Lucas
Eric Lucas (pictured with his wife Mavis) copes with being one of the few men at Felixstowe's Top Time

"But I find that a wonderful discipline and I enjoy using my brain and working things out."

The group use the community room on the top floor of the library which was added in 2006 as part of the redevelopment work.

"We've got a waiting list for people to come if there's room, but we're really lucky to have this," said Jean Hughes.

She retired to Felixstowe with her husband. Since his death, she's found friendship and support at the library.

"A group came from Newmarket and they were really envious as they have to have their meetings downstairs, whereas we've got this room upstairs," said Jean.

Mary Hackeson at Felixstowe Library
Mary Hackeson looks forward to being given some homework

"We all really enjoy it. If we didn't we wouldn't come would we?"

Top Time groups meet at most of Suffolk's 27 public libraries. For more details of what's happening at your nearest venue visit the Suffolk libraries website and go to the Activities & Events section.


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