A COMMUNITY group combating social isolation and loneliness, is going from strength to strength only six months after launching.Increased membership has seen Friend2U, established by retired nurse Wendy Kettleton, expand to a new venue, successfully apply for Lottery funding and enjoy its first Christmas party thanks to the generosity of local people and businesses.
Nearly 30 people attended the Halfway House to tuck into a three-course Christmas meal, helped by a £450 fast grant from Action Together.
The Rochdale Road pub is the second meeting venue after Wendy started her group at the Duke of York, Heyside.
“We launched in May 2019 and progress was steady,” said Wendy.
“But we were getting lots of enquires from Royton.
So, after speaking to landlord Vinny Caira and his daughter Vikki, who are extremely supportive to our project, it was agreed twe could utilise the Halfway House following its refurbishment.
“We still use the Duke of York every Wednesday but now meet at the Halfway every Monday. We think location and being on bus route assists with its success.
“Members get access to both venues in view of increasing their social circle at no extra cost.
“We will visit people in their home with an aim to get them to one or both of our venues and we will consider transport only if all other options have been explored,” added Wendy.
“The support we have received from the Action Together development team has been outstanding.
“We are now registered with Company House as a community interest company and we are up to date with multiple policies and procedures.
“We started a Christmas hamper appeal in preparation for Friend2U Xmas Party and the response from the local community was overwhelming.
“We received donations from local residents, Asda and Tesco from Chadderton, Sainsburys in Oldham, Lidl and the Co-op in Royton.
“So, all members received a free hamper or biscuit and chocolate bundle.”
Following an application to Ambition for Ageing, Friend2U were awarded £1,088.22 towards promoting he organisation.
Anyone interested in joining either of Wendy’s Friend2U groups can call her on 07748 251368 or email firstname.lastname@example.org