Health & wellbeing

Starting small, dreaming big – The Joy Club UK launch

08 Dec 2020 | Written by Hannah Thomson

Hannah Thomson, Founder/CEO of The Joy Club, and Granny Jean

It is my very great pleasure to welcome you to The Joy Club!

The Joy Club – for those of you joining us for the first time today – is a membership website for people aged 65 and over that helps members to save more, so they can afford to do more. 

Today’s launch is the culmination of more than a year of work. Getting to this point feels like reaching a finish line of sorts – it’s what I’ve been aiming for over the last 15 months – but of course, today is only the beginning. I wanted to take a moment to pause and share the journey so far.

I took my first steps on this journey when my granny became ill. The more ill she became, the more products and services were made available to her. We were, of course, so grateful for all of the support she received, but – I reflected after she passed away – it did have the effect of prolonging the number of years she lived in ill health. I began to wonder what could have been done earlier to extend the number of years she lived in good health instead.

The experience convinced me that healthy life expectancy, not life expectancy, is what we should be focusing on as a society. The more research I undertook and the more experts I spoke with, the more convinced I became of this. I also came to understand that you cannot talk about healthy life expectancy without also talking about wealth. In the UK, richer people get to enjoy 19 more years of good health compared to their poorer counterparts – and that gap is widening. 

I spent the next several months investigating what could be done to close this gap in healthy life expectancy. My research conversations with people over the age of 65 were illuminating. One woman described ageing to me as “a fight against invisibility”. Another told me how naive she felt when she realised (too late) that she had been wrong – that working hard as a social worker your whole life doesn’t mean that the state will give you enough of a pension to have the modest but enjoyable retirement that you’d been looking forward to. 

I met with and listened to experts – a clinical pharmacist, a geriatrician, an occupational therapist, a care home manager, a wealth manager and so many others involved in the care of people in later life. “If you had a magic wand”, I asked them, “what would you do to make life better for older people?” They all answered, in their own particular ways, that they would remove budget as a barrier to a happy and healthy retirement for all.

That’s what The Joy Club is all about. Starting small, dreaming big – we will be helping to make a happy, healthy retirement a reality for all, regardless of wealth. From today, you can become a member of The Joy Club (as long as you’re aged 65 or over, of course!). You will have access to discounted, free and money-making activities that can help you save more, so that you can afford to do more.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has joined me in this journey so far – to our supporters, collaborators, partners and my team, many of whom have taken a leap of faith and joined me, having thus far only met me via Zoom! Thanks also to the experts and people over the age of 65 who have brought The Joy Club into being through your stories and your insights.

And most importantly, thank you Granny Jean – for the mission, for your love and for your fire!

Hannah Thomson, Founder CEO