| Helen Sharp
Case study: The Posh Club with Duckie
People say we have to slow down but if you slow down, you end up dead, Posh Club member
Duckie is an Arts enterprise which create good nights out and culture clubs aimed at bringing communities together. In London they are well known for their weekly residency at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. They describe themselves as purveyors of progressive working class entertainment, mixing live art and light entertainment.
Duckie has recently turned its attention to a different clientele; their posh clubs are weekly social and showbiz events for ‘swanky senior citizens, elegant elders & glamorous golden girls’, otherwise known as the over 60s. The sideshows on offer include tap dancers, opera singers, acrobats, hula hoopers, a variety of Elvis impersonators including one from China, ukelele bands and the finest ballet. All for a princely sum of £5.
The club relies primarily on volunteers and holds events throughout the year in locations across London and more recently Brighton and Hastings. According to the co-organiser, Simon Casson, it is less about supporting people and more about having fun. “People don’t think they’re coming to a voluntary service, they think they are off for an afternoon at the Ritz”. And this is potentially one of the joys of the idea – making it the antithesis of a lunch club. One of the volunteers – drag artist, dancer and choreographer, Dame Delicious thinks people ‘underestimate older people; they are up for anything, they just go for it’.
Duckie are in the middle of an Arts Council Funded Research Project in partnership with Queen Mary University of London to measure the impact of The Posh Club on older peoples’ health, engagement and wellbeing. The photos and films on the website are evidence enough that Duckie is having a huge impact on people and stretching the boundaries of older people and their care.