Group makes triumphant return

Relaunch of the New Horizons club for older people in Woodbridge. The lunch and leisure club was dis

Relaunch of the New Horizons club for older people in Woodbridge. The lunch and leisure club was discontinued by Age UK in June for a number of reasons, including cost, but the community has since rallied round to get the group back off the ground. County councillor Caroline Page donated some of her locality budget to make it happen. Cllr Caroline Page and Brenda Jackson with the cheque. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A group for older people has risen from the ashes just months after being discontinued in a Suffolk town.

Age UK Suffolk announced the closure of Woodbridge’s New Horizons club in June this year, facing what it called “substantial funding losses”.

But the lunch and leisure club, managed by Brenda Jackson and described as a ‘lifeline’ for its members, has now made a welcome comeback, thanks to the generosity of volunteers.

Realising a need to continue the service, a committee of volunteers, including cooks, drivers and an art tutor, was set up to resurrect the club, with the support and advice of Claire Taylor-Crisp, field officer for Community Action Suffolk.

Trustee, Linda Cadman, a New Horizons volunteer of 28 years, said: “Brenda Jackson is an inspirational leader and we are delighted to be able to continue the vital work of alleviating loneliness in older people.”

Club member, Frances Scott said she could not speak too highly of Mrs Jackson’s efforts to ensure its return.

At an official opening event, trustees, volunteers and members were delighted to be presented with a £1,988 cheque from the locality budget of county councillor Caroline Page.

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Mrs Jackson said: “We are extremely grateful to Caroline for providing essential funding to support the club in its initial stages. The funding will underpin our service during its first year and allow us to move forward with confidence.”

James Lightfoot, a Woodbridge solicitor, who wrote the club’s constitution, said: “Others from Woodbridge went out of their way to help too – for example, Julie Friar of Friar Best with the insurance, and Sarah Deal from Barclays with setting up the right bank accounts.”

Age UK said it was forced to close the club due to a number of reasons, including the changing needs of clients, increased staffing levels required to ensure quality standards were met, and the potential increase in rent and utilities.

The club now meets on Thursdays from 10am-2pm at St Mary’s Church Hall, providing a two-course lunch and activities including art, crafts, games and entertainment.

The cost is £8 per day. Anyone over 55 and wishing to join the club, can ring Brenda on 07514 364752. Transport can be arranged.

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