July 22 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
A day centre hailed as a “safe harbour” for its users has celebrated two decades of supporting the elderly.
Attleborough Day Centre was set up in 1994 and has since seen thousands of users come through its doors for a hot meal, a chat or a trip to shops.
Last week, volunteers, staff and service users gathered to share memories and celebrate the centre’s milestone birthday.
Joyce Whitmee-Smith, who lives on Norwich Road in Attleborough, has helped out at the centre since it opened.
Before she started volunteering 13 years ago, the community stalwart worked as a carer for seven years.
The 73-year-old described the centre as a “lifeline” - and added that it had served as a rock to her after her husband died of cancer four years ago.
“It gave me a purpose to go and help - I still enjoy the centre and helping the old people. It has been a lifeline for an awful lot of people and it is a safe harbour - people can feel totally safe and secure here,” she said.
The centre, based at St Mary’s Community Hall on Church Street, provides support for the elderly and their families and hosts a wide range of activities including arts and crafts, quizzes, live entertainment and talks three days a week.
It also helps visitors complete their errands - such as doctor, dentist and optician appointments or a quick trip to the post office or supermarket.
Jenny Sider has been coming to the centre for nearly 20 years. She said: “If I didn’t come to the centre, I would be at home alone and unhappy. When I am there, the staff are very good. They help me get to the bank and do the things I wouldn’t be able to do by myself.”
Emma Callaghan, manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating our 20th year, which is a real achievement and shows how much the centre is valued by people locally. The centre has been like a second home to so many elderly people over the years and we have always worked incredibly hard to ensure that the elderly and frail people of Attleborough don’t feel isolated or lonely but can share in the companionship that is provided at the centre.”
With up to 30 users a day taking advantage of their services, Mrs Callaghan said that the day centre had never been more important.
She added: “We are conscious of the demands of an area with such a high population of older people and always looking at ways to develop the centre.”
Do you have an Attleborough story for us? Contact reporter Lauren Cope on Lauren.email@example.com