Project information

The Forgotten Folks

“The Forgotten Folks” project is to encourage elderly people to get active and healthier through participation in fun workshops that use elements of African arts and culture to break down the social isolation and health problems that older people often experience.

September 2012 - August 2015

Charity information: IROKO Theatre Company

IROKO Theatre Company logo
  • Need


    Newham is the most ethnically diverse borough in London and also one of the most deprived, with many elderly people living in 'pensioner poverty'. The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Report 2009 by the Office of National Statistics state "there is robust evidence that deprivation is also associated with poor health including premature death". From the pilot and consequent focus group we conducted for this project we found isolation to be a serious concern for elderly people in Newham.


    IROKO Theatre Company plan to use a combination of activities based around traditional African theatre methods, including music-making, drumming, dancing and clay modelling as a means of encouraging elderly people to engage in exercise and be more active within the community. The activities will be held in four areas in Newham, by doing this we keep the activities local enough that older people can get to them easily, but also gets them to a central place where they can interact with new people.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Enhancing the well-being of elderly people who might feel socially isolated.


    » Organising local workshops that are easy to attend in various parts of the Borough of Newham.

    What success will look like

    Success will be seeing people who do not normally get out interacting and forming new relationships with others who attend our workshops.

    Aim 2

    Increased participation by older people in fun, creative and therapeutic arts activities.


    » We will hold fortnightly gentle music- making, dancing and drumming workshops.
    » We will hold a monthly therapeutic arts workshop, mainly teaching the participants traditional African clay modelling techniques.

    What success will look like

    Success will be having a total of 500 people attend our workshops over the duration of the project.

    Aim 3

    Empower some of our participants, by giving them skills to help tackle social isolation.


    » We will train up to 5 of the participants in our exercise methods so that they can lead other groups in different settings once our project is over.

    What success will look like

    Success will be training 5 volunteers to be able to deliver the workshops in their local communities.

    Aim 4

    Encourage older people to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle.


    » Produce an at home exercise DVD and health fact sheets that will help elderly people continue exercising.
    » Train other people that will be able to continue the workshops once the project has finished.

    What success will look like

    Success will be having a number of participant still enagaging in exercise after the project has ended and also having our trained volunteers leading workshops across the borough.

  • Impact


    The project will help tackle two major problems amongst elderly people living in Newham, these being social isolation and poor health. We hope that this project will help raise awareness of the benefits and imprtance of engaging in exercise for the elderly and that this can be done in a fun and novel way. Success will be the continuation of at least one of our workshops


    There is a risk that elderly people within the community might not attend the workshops. To overcome this we have fostered strong links with organisations that work with elderly people in Newham. By doing this we hope we can pool together our database of clients to ensure that elderly people in the community are aware of of the project and can access the workshops.


    Donors will be updated via a quaterly project report and analysis detailing progress that has been made, forthcoming events and any changes. Donors can also take a look at facebook page or our website for pictures and other less detailed information.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £64,764

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      Amount Heading Description
      £31,209 Staff Project co-ordinator and workshop leaders
      £3,510 Volunteers Providing training and reimbursement for volunteers.
      £5,400 Publicity Publisicing the events and producing a DVD for all attendees
      £14,100 Workshops Providing equipment and refreshments for 90 workshops
      £10,545 Office Overheads Project office, administraton and maintenance

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund £19,833 Guaranteed
    IROKO Theatre Company £10,515 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Borough of Newham is the second most deprived borough in England. It also has the highest population of young people in London. As a result most of the resources of the borough goes to providing activities for young poeple. This can result in less activities being provided for elderly people living in the borough. The less activities there are in the local community the less chance elderly people have of leaving their homes which can result in them feeling isolated and depressed.


    Our project will benefit anyone over 50 living in the borough of Newham. Currently there are very few places providing activites based around African arts in the borough. The workshops will give attendees the oppurtunity to experience a different culture, meet new people and also improve their health. Some of the people who attend the workshops will also be provided with training so that they can lead similar workshops within their community.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    IROKO Theatre Company has been working in Newham for over 15 years and have a sound understanding of the needs of people in the Borough. We have previously conducted a pilot version of this project and found it to be very successful. The people who accessed the workshops enjoyed it very much and reported that they benefited greatly from the experience.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Alex Oma Pius

    Alex is the Founder and Artistic Director of IROKO and he will be responsible for the designing and managing of the project over the three years.

    Carol Edozie

    Carol has an MA Human Resource Management and has been instrumental in the planning and organising of all of IROKO’s projects for the past 15 years.

    Newham Afro Caribbean Resource Centre (NACRC)

    The NACRC is an organisations which works closely with elderly people. We will be partnering with them for the duration of the project.

    Elsie Smith

    Elsie has volunteered with IROKO for a number of years in various roles. She has been vital in ensuring the success of previous IROKO workshops.