Over 90 years in H&F and loving it

Joan Trotman, talks about life in the borough

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Born, raised, educated and having worked in Hammersmith, Joan Trotman is now retired and lives in the Elizabeth Barnes Court sheltered housing estate in Fulham – what was considered the more genteel part 90 years ago where she grew up north of the river in Hammersmith.

Born and brought up in Sulgrave Road, Hammersmith during her school years, she said was in what was then considered “a little rough area for a young girl.” She remembers the quiet streets and open spaces long-before the flyovers and gyratory cut H&F into two and long before world war two when everything went a bit “helter skelter.”

She remembers the bombing of Hammersmith by the Germans during the Blitz but does not like to dwell on it. She is more interested in talking about the present and how only a few days ago she was “able to see Hammersmith from outer space”. Along with the other residents in Elizabeth Barnes Court, Joan has been learning the joys of google maps as youth from the borough who volunteered on the Generations Together programme run by the Council have been visiting the home and teaching the residents how to use computers. Joan is keen to get an i-pad “so much easier to use” she says making everyone a cup of tea.

Generations Together is a £5.5 million national programme to promote and encourage meaningful interaction between young and old. The programme recognises that there is an increasingly ageing society, resulting from increased life expectancy and demographic changes There are currently 11 separate Generations Together programmes taking place across the borough, including dance, gardening and nature initiatives, with the council funding them to the tune of £360,000. There are still places available for volunteers under the age of 25 or over 50 to take part in Generations.

On the programme she has zoomed in on the borough where she worked for a small butchers called Hedges (long replaced by the high-street fare of supermarkets and malls) and Diago, the drinks manufacturer that has now moved out of the borough during the 1950s and 1960s. As a married woman with a family she moved out of her family home but stayed in Brook Green raising her family in Hammersmith.

By the time she retired from independent confectioners Batemans in the 1980s, Joan had become a grand mother and a great-grand mother too. She is keen to keep in touch with her family, who unlike her have moved out of the Borough, and living in Fulham and learning how to use the internet and e-mail, instant messaging and all the other communication opportunities, Joan has embraced the 21st century as she sees it as a whole new world to discover.

Joan's new talents have been acquired in social media workshops run by the Community and Voluntary Sector Association (CaVSA) an umbrella body that is run with grants and funds from the local government and other charitable donations. With cuts CaVSA is also hard hit by the spending cuts but is keen to keep some of these pioneering projects funded and works in partnership with the local volunteer centre to recruit young people to enrol into the programme and the new Hammersmith Academy, which will specialise in Information Technology and Creative and Digital Media.

If you would like to know more about the programme contact CaVSA - 166 King Street, Hammersmith, London, W6 0QU

November 10, 2010