This year we enter our 20th year of being open and what a pivotal year it will be for us and we are hoping your readers will help us celebrate it in good style. First of all its tremendous we have been going strong for 20 years yes 20 years who would have thought it when we first opened our doors in 2000. It’s been a roller coaster of time we have had good and bad times but we have always hung in and kept going.
The hardest part of being a charity is you are reliant on other bigger funders and Charities to keep going, relying on someone outside your vicinity looking at what you do and having the foresight to see that your work is worthwhile and worth funding. Thank goodness over the last twenty years we have been funded by many big funding organisations and we very much appreciate their support. It’s not easy in Blackpool being a small local Charity, it is so easy to be overlooked as there are so many other organisations looking for funding to the same funders. We look after one of the most vulnerable groups in our Society which is the frail and elderly.
A lot of your readers will know we run three clubs a week to bring people out of their homes which can be very lonely if you have no relatives living now or living nearby, and they come to our Centre to mix with other like-minded people, have some food and generally socialise. One of our other groups is specifically aimed at our members with complex needs whether this be learning or physical difficulties. The latest project once a week is “Raid the Larder” where our larder is open to people in the Community who are finding it difficult to make ends meet from payday to payday. Come with your bag and fill it with whatever we have no questions asked. We are very grateful to the people who help us with donations of food and toiletries and if anyone reading this has any to spare then pop in and donate to us. In fact any person who is looking for advice, some guidance, form filling or indeed just to have a chat is very welcome through our doors. We have an open door policy to include everyone and I would like to think that we are friendly and welcoming to all who approach us.
We are based in the Methodist Church Building on Dickson Road in the heart of Blackpool not far from main Town Centre and as we are in Claremont, through our funders People’s Health Trust we have facilitated a lot of different projects in this area with the help of the Claremont Ten steering group.
However it’s the start of the year and we were very busy over the Xmas holiday break as we renewed our Computer Suite which fifteen years ago was a “state of the art” room that we were very proud of but sadly had outgrown its use. We now have ten new computers and they are placed in such a way that the user has privacy but also we can now accommodate wheelchair users in a more friendly manner as there is more room to manoeuvre around in the room. We would like to invite anyone who needs to use a computer to drop in and use our new facilities, it is free for the first hour and you generally do not have to book a time. We have a member of staff who manages the room and can be available to help people who are not quite computer literate or need help to fill in forms especially universal credit.
We have a lot going on in the Centre but we never say enough is enough if any of your readers are looking for something different to do and see why not come along and visit us and have a coffee or tea. Give us your ideas, if there is anything you would like to do in particular make a suggestion, we run day trips, theatre outings, restaurant outings, but we are always looking for new ideas and we definitely want to celebrate our 20th year in style so come along and help us do this.
We are planning a multi-cultural day to bring the community together with different styles of food and lifestyles if anyone has a recipe or craft they would like to share please contact us…..together we can make this happen.
Of course our biggest thanks must go to the band of Volunteers who come into the Centre to help us every week, they are very loyal and always go the extra mile. They are not ‘just volunteers’ to us but very much part of the family and we sincerely hope they know how very much they are appreciated in fact the doors would not open without their help.
If I have said this once I say it every year please do not sit at home depressed and lonely there is plenty going on in Blackpool but it needs you to make the first step just pick up your phone and ring us on 01253 299306 tell us your story and we will try our best to help.