Holidaymakers of a certain age are in for a treat this summer, following the grand opening of ‘Codgerworld’ - Britain’s first play barn for the elderly – a few miles outside Sandown: the Isle of Wight’s premier pensioners’ resort.
Codgerworld - brainchild of entrepreneur Margret Briscoe and housed in a converted barn on the family apple farm - promises a ‘safe, warm, friendly environment with an OAP theme’. ‘As I watched my mother regress towards a second infanthood, and lacking anywhere to take her if the weather was bad, the idea just came to me,’ claimed Briscoe. ‘The centre is ideally situated, being just a short bus ride from Sandown’s glamorous benches, bingo halls and fracture clinic.’
‘Our centre offers the perfect place to keep the island’s key demographic occupied,’ she continued. ‘People bringing their grandparents on holiday really appreciate the break; being able to leave their doddery relatives in the blanket pit for five minutes whilst they sit back and relax with a well-deserved coffee.‘
‘The climbing frame is proving to be a massive hit, once our customers have been hoisted onto the platform, and customers of a less active nature can enjoy the sights and sounds of a sensory stimulation suit. Anxious grandchildren hovering around the play area can rest assured that our specially trained staff are on-hand to guide their frightened and disorientated charges out into the fresh air once it gets too much for them.’
The centre has received a positive response from most visitors, said Mrs Briscoe, but she admits that some persistent problems may take longer to resolve. ‘We do have a major issue with queuing as it can take a little while for each visitor to get up the slide – we can’t get the stair lifts to go up any faster without the costly installation of extra safety barriers,’ she explained. ‘However, after a little rest and a nice cup of tea at the top, they're soon helped onto a padded commode for the journey back down. Their little faces are a picture as they glide judderingly down to the bottom.’
‘Having Des O'Connor serenade us as we dropped off the death slide was my favourite part,’ said pensioner Ethel Crosby whilst being lifted onto a stretcher after sustaining a fractured hip. ‘I know he wasn’t part of the entertainment as he was there on holiday, but still I enjoyed it immensely – although that might be the extra-large dose of pain medication talking.’
(Written by me and Qorbeq)