One Amazings Day

Retirement is no longer as clear-cut as it used to be, with adults choosing to work past their retirement age. Some simply don’t have an option, due to lack of adequate investments, while others are still supporting their boomerang dependents, who cannot afford renting or getting on the property ladder (see Mintel’s Marketing to the Boomerang Generation report).

Mintel’s Inspire trend ‘Retired for Hire’ observes that, in fact, many pension-aged adults prefer to continue working past their retirement age, as it keeps them busy, and with life expectancy and numbers of the over-55 steadily growing, older consumers are holding increasingly more sway in the market place.

Last weekend I attended ‘One Amazings Day’, organized by the East London initiative the Amazings, who, in a series of hands-on workshops, bring together retired people with a skill acquired through employment or long-term hobbies, and younger people hoping to learn something new.

Whilst according to Mintel report Lifestyles of the Over-55s, volunteering is a popular pursuit amongst the over-55s, with nearly a fifth planning to do voluntary work over the next year, the Amazings get a little something back in exchange for their giving. Seventy percent of the profit from the workshops goes to the teachers.Glass painting

The atmosphere was full on anticipation on the morning of the event, with four workshops to choose from, one for the morning and another for the afternoon for each participant. I started with learning how to cut and paint glass with Dennis, who has worked as a glass cutter for 45 years before retiring and took up glass painting more recently. We were instructed to “measure twice but cut only once” for best results.

During the second part of the day, I made a wallet with Judith, who is a tailor with much experience under the belt, who recycles everything and has her own upcycling clothes business. Other workshops on offer that day included food foraging skills and knitting skills, whilst many others are help on a one-off or regular basis every week.

Making a wallet

With twenty-odd people attending, the popularity of the Amazings is obvious, suggesting there is a definite niche for such workshops, with cost-cutting perhaps being one of the biggest reasons. At a third of the price of any standard workshop or class offered in the capital, I learned skills that would help me create something practical with my own hands. As evidenced by Mintel’s Inspire trend ‘Survival Skills’, in hard economic times people look to learn new skills. In fact, the DIY movement has been growing strong and has become a point of personal pride for many Britons in recent years, with scratch cooking, preserving, crafts, and gardening being the more prominent examples.

The workshop made me realize that this is something I (or anyone) can do with minimal money and effort! But the ‘One Amazings Day’ went beyond teaching practical skills, and was a real experience and an inspiration, and I am certainly going back for more!

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