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Hub launch makes life smiles better for older people

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The sound of laughter filled Bromford Support's new Community Hub at Bourton-on-the-Water as dozens of older people had a go at some of the new activities that promise to help improve their health and social lives.

Some made new four-legged friends with a bit of help from Pets As Therapy volunteers and some enjoyed Active and Able exercise classes while others tested their knowledge in a special remembrance quiz.

These were just a few of the many activities organised by Bromford Support Business Manager Anita Russell and her team to launch the Hub and the idea of supporting independence and wellbeing for older people by involving the wider community in this rural part of Gloucestershire.

Bromford colleagues and representatives from other organisations were also on hand to offer information and advice about a range of beneficial services - from holistic therapies to home improvements.

Afterwards, Anita declared the opening event a great success and she is confident that the Market Close Hub will thrive - and that localised versions of the idea will take off in a dozen others parts of the Cotwolds district.

"It was a great start. We were delighted to see so many older people take up the challenge and join us for what turned out to be a fantastic day - and a very successful launch for the Hub," said Anita.

"We're very grateful for the contribution that came from Cotswold district council and the county council and all the other local groups that supported us. It was a real joint effort.

"Of course, we can only achieve our aims if everyone continues to work together and uses the Hub as a real community resource that benefits the older people and improves their quality of life."

What next? Anita and her team have already put together a "shopping list" of other activities such as a gardening club and developing a Therapy Suite after asking guests what they would like to see in the future.

They're also keen to encourage more local volunteers who are willing to help out and share any specialist knowhow or skills they may have.

"It's all about helping people to help themselves - and the more volunteers we get the better. We've already got a commitment from some other Bromford customers who are willing to help the older people with their computer skills and that's just one example," says Anita.

"The important thing is to make sure the hub will be sustainable by making sure the activities are the ones that local people want and they are prepared to make a small regular contribution - a few pounds perhaps for each activity  - that will help with running costs and contribute towards providing equipment such as tools for the gardening club.

"Several people were really keen on the gardening idea and now that we've planted the seeds with this launch event I'm sure that, like a garden, our Hub will really take root and blossom."

If you can help the Hub in any way, call Anita on 07734 070 600.