Sidmouth pensioners are game for Xbox fun

Yvonne White (front right) and Tina Cureton (front left) with an Xbox control as residents watch the

Yvonne White (front right) and Tina Cureton (front left) with an Xbox control as residents watch the game highlights. - Credit: Archant

Sheltered accommodation residents as old 92 handed new lease of life by console

Pamela Golding, 81, goes for her third strike as residents look on.

Pamela Golding, 81, goes for her third strike as residents look on. - Credit: Archant

ELDERLY sheltered accommodation residents in their 80s and 90s in Sidmouth have been handed a new lease of life – by playing video games.

Tenants at Lymebourne House saved up to buy an Xbox 360 with Kinect so pensioners could get more involved in social activities like skittles, writes Stefan Gordon.

The idea came about after several of the community centre’s regular visitors found themselves struggling with the physical activities and games laid on by the residents’ association.

Leaders organised a jumble sale that raised £150 towards the console and East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) housing team donated the same amount to get the system up and running.

The technology was put to the test last week as more than 15 residents gathered with council workers to try it out with a Kinect bowling tournament.

Using the console’s hands-free Kinect sensor they were able to play along without the need of control pads, which can be difficult to operate.

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Pamela Golding, 81, who had been unable to take part in the association’s skittle games, soon found herself the centre of attention as she scored three strikes in a row on the Xbox.

Yvonne White, treasurer and events co-ordinator for the Lymebourne and Arcot Park Residents’ Association, said: “We don’t want to stop at ten-pin bowling – we’ll try and get some other games which may help people.

“Perhaps we’ll try a little bit of dancing to help them with their coordination.

“The new Xbox provides a great chance for people to come here, in the warm, have a lot of fun and not have to sit in their own flat looking at four walls. Now they can see their friends, have a cup of tea and some biscuits, give the games a go and have a good laugh.

“We’re really grateful to the council for making up the shortfall to buy the console. It will make a real difference to people here and it’s already a big hit.”

EDDC’s involvement is linked to its ongoing Get Digital scheme.

Senior housing support officer Tina Cureton said: “It’s amazing that something so simple can take residents from feeling a little bit left out to totally included.”

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