A MAJOR project to help alleviate social isolation for older people will be launched next week.

The project will involve the establishment of an over-55’s social group to serve both Rudheath and Witton opening next Tuesday at Shurlach Methodist Church Hall.

The group is being launched by Rudheath and Witton Together and the Cheshire Community Development Trust as part of Project 55.

In 2013, £1 million was awarded to Rudheath and Witton as part of a national programme called Big Local, with the aim of making the area an even better place for residents to live, both now and in the future. It was left up to the people of the area to determine how the money was spent.

Jessica Cole, development trust project worker, who is helping establish the new group, said: “Part of my role is in trying to improve the lives of residents particularly those who have retired and are feeling a sense of isolation and social exclusion.

“We decided to set the group up after feedback we received from local residents including a Wellbeing Day held last November in Northwich. It will hopefully help residents to play an active part in their community and improve their wellbeing.”

According to Jessica, one person complained of feeling lonely after they had retired while another said that time was difficult to find companionship between working part time.

The social group will meet on Tuesdays from 1pm to 3pm and will include a variety of activities from visiting speakers, learning new skills and board games and chat.

Jessica said: “We will be fuelled by plenty of tea, coffee and biscuits and in the future we hope to be able to organise trips out to the cinema and to other local attractions.

“Part of my role is also to bridge the gap between local services and signpost people to organisations.

“What I have realised since being in role that there are lots of amazing organisations out there providing help and advice but residents simply do not know about them.”

Future plans, which are dependant on what the residents themselves would like are set to include the group working with local schools/pre-schools with intergenerational learning, coach trips, monthly lunch club, art and craft sessions.

Jessica adds: “Residents have also said they would like to be involved in a gardening project, so I am looking at ways that this could be achieved although it will be a month or two before I know how this will likely happen."

For more information contact Jessica by e-mailing jcole@cheshirecdt.org.uk or phone 01606 723180.