A COMMUNITY group has transformed the lives of older people who felt isolated at home.

The Over 55s Shurlach Afternoon Club nurtures friendship between Rudheath villagers as they enjoy a fun-packed programme of activities.

Pupils from Rudheath Primary Academy sang, played musical instruments and chatted to members as they celebrated their first birthday.

Club chairman Hilary Hayes said: "We try to integrate the young with the old. During the summer we joined family day trips and helped with the playgroup."

The club was originally launched with Lottery funding by Rudheath and Witton Together two years ago.

Villagers enjoyed it so much they decided to keep going and run it themselves.

Northwich Guardian:

Club chairman Hilary Hayes, second from left at front, and members enjoyed a buffet to celebrate their first birthday

"We try to do something a little bit different every week," said great gran Hilary, 62. "It has given us all a new lease of life.

"I took early retirement and once I'd been travelling with my husband, I realised I had nobody else to talk to. I had been a manager and used to deal with the public every day.

"I've made so many new friends now. I can't believe how much we've done. Everyone supports each other and there is a lovely family atmosphere."

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With £1,000 from the Community Fund and support from Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose,Thinkprint, Skipton Building Society, plus their own fundraising, members enjoy day trips, guest speakers and learning new skills.

Some have completed courses in first aid, safeguarding and computing and improved their social media skills by teaching each other.

Police officers have given them talks to warn about the dangers of scamming and firefighters have provided practical tips on how to stay safe at home.

Quizzes and games help keep their minds alert.

Summer trips to Bridgemere Garden Centre and Jodrell Bank are in the pipeline.

"Any money we raise we plough back into the club," added Hilary. "Many of us meet up for a meal, coffee or trip to the cinema during the week. We have made some great friends.

"You don't have to live in Rudheath or Witton. We are open to anyone who wants to come along and we are on a bus route. The first week is free and then it's £2 a week."

Northwich Guardian:

The club received £500 from Asda after being nominated by customers on the supermarket's community board

The club meets from 1pm to 3pm every Tuesday at Shurlach Chapel.