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Making a difference
Case Study

Grumpy Old Bees maintenance team

The need:


Groundwork identified a group of retired men in Radcliffe North, that were looking for the structure, sense of purpose and connection that working life can provide. At the same time, it was noted that Radcliffe Cricket Club requires regular maintenance in preparation for cricket matches and social events.


The solution:


Groundwork arranged for its ‘Grumpy Old Bees’ to cut the grass and generally ensure the club grounds look nice and are usable ahead of cricket matches.


“It is about socialising and chatting away, but it’s also very much about keeping the Bees in the routine of work. Giving them something to do that has to be done is very important.”

- Julie Bentley, Project Coordinator


The Bees now visit the grounds to undertake voluntary maintenance three to five times a week. Aged between 58 and 82 years-old, they are under no pressure to come every time, just whenever they are able.


New equipment was purchased so that the group can comfortably complete the work. Tasks are allocated according to individual ability.


The benefits:


A team has developed that is full of laughter and fun. Good friendships have been made, and thanks to the installation of a stairlift everyone can get to the club’s bar to meet for a drink.


The group keep in touch outside of the maintenance activity and support each other through difficult times or when someone has been unwell. They’ve taught each other new and invaluable skills.


The wider area has benefitted from the club’s improved appearance, and membership has increased as a result.


"I have learnt to do basic plumbing, others have learnt landscaping and we have all learnt problem-solving skills, when it comes to a range of challenges.”


"I have Parkinson’s disease and find this group allows me to do things without being told I can't. I also enjoy the banter. It makes me feel included."


"I have worked all my life. This group allows me to keep that structure to my days."


"It gives us all a purpose so we don't feel old."


The learning:


It was important to source equipment that wasn’t too big and heavy, that the Bees could actually use.


Groundwork also ensure the appropriate health and safety practices and risk assessments are kept to – including wearing gloves and eye masks, which the Bees wouldn’t necessarily use of their own accord. Some in the group also have additional health needs that need to be considered.


Looking ahead:


The project is ongoing, anyone can join in.




Julie Bentley

Project Coordinator, Groundwork BBOR, Ambition for Ageing, Bury

T: 01617857414 or 01616241444