A new Friendship and Social Group in Harrogate got off to a great start on Friday when it launched at Bilton Community Centre.
Aimed at bringing people together to combat loneliness and isolation, the new group welcomed people from the local community for a coffee, cake and a chat.
The first session was aimed at getting to know each other and finding out what people would like to do during future sessions. The next meeting in March will include a visit from both a real life and a digital therapy dog, while other activities planned for the months ahead include a mindfulness session, seated exercise class and a visit from a rock choir. There will also be a special VE Day celebration on May 29th.
The group has been launched by Iona Novak, Acting Care Service Manager at home care company Continued Care. She said: “It was fantastic to see such a good turnout for our first Friendship and Social Group in Harrogate. We know from our work in the community that sessions like this can improve people’s wellbeing and help prevent them feeling lonely and isolated, so it was great to welcome people from the local community, as well as some of the people we look after at Continued Care.”
One of those attending the session was Janet, who lives just round the corner from Bilton Community Centre. She said she doesn’t know many people in Harrogate so had come along to meet people. Janet was chatting to Ruth, who also lives locally and is a service user at Continued Care. Ruth said she had been interested in the session because it gave her the chance to get out and meet new people.
Continued Care service user Stephen said it was nice to get out and have a change of scene, while Chris said he had come along to support the group and meet new people.
Jean Irving takes the bookings for Bilton Community Centre and was delighted to welcome Continued Care for their new sessions. She said: “Groups like this that are for the community are really important so I hope word spreads about this new session and people come along to see what it’s all about.”
Continued Care’s director, Samantha Harrison, said: “We’d like to thank Jean for allowing us to use this wonderful local facility. We think groups like this are incredibly important and can make a real difference to people who are feeling isolated. We look forward to welcoming even more people to our Friendship & Social Group in the future.”
The Friendship & Social Group runs at Bilton Community Centre from 2pm to 4pm on the last Friday of each month. Attendance is free and open to anyone who would like to meet new friends and learn something new.
The sessions are wheelchair accessible. If you would like to attend but would have difficulty getting to the venue, please call Iona who will try to arrange transport.
For more information, contact Iona on 01423 871 003.