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​Retirement is about fulfilling your dreams argues Hannah Thomson, founder CEO of The Joy Club

On average, we now spend more than 20 per cent of our lives in retirement.

For those of us expected to live into our 80s (and that’s most of us), we are on track to spend at least 16 of those years either retired or semi-retired.

Gone are the days when that meant slowing down.

Modern retirement is an opportunity to enjoy life on your own terms.

Spend more time with family and friends, finally see the world (pandemics permitting), write that novel you’ve had floating around in your head for the last 20 years … In the immortal words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”

As the Founder and CEO of The Joy Club, I’m dedicated to helping people to make the most of this time of their lives.

The Joy Club is an online activity club that provides inspiration for a joyful retirement.

We’ve created a place where our members can try something new at live online events every weekday.

They can experience uplifting daily reads and meet new people who share their interests, but we’re so much more than just a website…

Inspired by my grandmother

I was initially inspired to create The Joy Club by my Granny Jean.

For her, retirement was the most joyful time of her life.

Her retirement adventures during her 60s and 70s included backpacking around New Zealand on her own, volunteering in Bulgaria and becoming an artist.

When I lost her to dementia, I wanted to pay tribute to her by bringing her sense of joy, adventure and passion for meeting new people to as many others as possible.

That’s why in 2019 I left my job at a women’s health technology company to begin working on what was to become The Joy Club.

I knew from the very beginning that it was crucial to involve retired people in the creation of the company.

 

Within that first year, over 100 retirees helped me make critical decisions on everything from the website design and the types of activities we would offer, to our brand colours and even the name itself.

The Joy Club was born

After more than a year of research and preparation, we launched The Joy Club on 8th December 2020.

My diary entry for that day reads: ‘Very joyful day, we launched and the first doses of the vaccine were administered!’

Indeed, The Joy Club journey and the pandemic have been interwoven.

Covid shaped the idea by dictating that we had to find a way to deliver joy online only, and it also meant that I had to hire a team of people that I had never met in real life (though you wouldn’t guess that, from the genuine care that we feel for each other and for what we’re trying to create!).

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention and I think that adage neatly fits our story.

The Joy Club a year on…

A year after we first launched, The Joy Club has welcomed thousands of members from right across the UK – from Penzance to the Shetland Islands!

We’ve put on more than 350 live online events from Tai Chi classes, Pilates and face yoga to live music, wine tasting and expert talks – nine out of ten of which have received a five-star rating from our members.

We’ve also recently introduced a brand new ‘Articles & videos’ section where our members can enjoy something new to read or watch every single day.

For the first time, members can chat with each other in the ‘Comments’ section and it’s been wonderful to see conversations starting to flow.

“The Joy Club has extended my capacity to meet other people who are retired, and to me that’s really important.” – Kathy, Bristol

Join us for just £5 a month

We will be doing much more to connect our members in our second year, and I’d love to invite you to be a part of the journey with us.

If you’re semi-retired or retired and want to make the most of this chapter in your life, join us at The Joy Club – we can’t wait to meet you.

All new members get a one-month, no obligation free trial of Premium membership (normally £5 per month) to try out everything The Joy Club has to offer.

We won’t ask you for your card details when you sign up, so you won’t be charged unless you choose to upgrade to Premium membership at the end of your trial.

To learn more about The Joy Club, please visit www.thejoyclub.com.