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Charity launches extra service to help community’s lonely and isolated

Ilkley Good Neighbours has introduced a second ‘Moving On Friendship Group’ following a large increase in demand for its popular social gathering meetings.  

The meetings have become a regular opportunity for people aged sixty and over to make friends and find out what’s happening in their local area. The group, run by charity volunteers, was originally set up in 2017 to offer direction and support to people whose life circumstances had changed, for example moving to the area to be near family.  However, over the years it has evolved into a more general friendship group which helps tackle the social isolation felt by many older residents in the community, creating a friendly and welcoming social gathering where volunteers help attendees feel comfortable and welcome.

Co-ordinator of the group Hannah Walton said: “The meetings have grown enormously in popularity and our current group was full with a waiting list of people keen to join.  We decided to start a second group to help more people in our area. I am so pleased that we’ve been able to open up another friendship group where the focus is on companionship and belonging. Members say they enjoy the chance to make new friends and one attendee said she felt really welcome and part of something special.”     

The members can enjoy refreshments, companionship, quizzes and hear guest speakers talking about a variety of topics, including wellbeing and support, cleaner rivers, physiotherapy, how to prevent falls, advice on wills and a host of other interesting subjects. Some of the speakers range from local MP Robbie Moore to authors such as Imogen Clark, the Town Mayor, and Hearing and Guide Dog representatives. We are always on the lookout for interesting people to speak or entertain our groups,” said Hannah. “If anyone would like to volunteer an hour or two and talk to our members, we’d love to hear from them. “    

Apart from the regular meetings the Moving On Friendship scheme also runs excursions and events for its regular members, which include day out drives into the Dales, Afternoon Teas, visits to the panto and Christmas lunches.

The new group meetings take place on Thursday afternoons between 1.30 and 3.00pm, on the first and second Thursdays of each month, in the Small Hall at the Clark Foley Centre in Ilkley.  The upcoming dates are 7th and 14th   December, 4th and 11th January, and 1st and 8th February. There is a £3 fee per person each week.

“We’ll be running the second group for six months on a trial basis and hopefully will be able to make it permanent once we see how it goes,” added Hannah.  “I’m looking forward to welcoming more people to our meetings.”

If you would like more information Hannah can be contacted on 07592 or at 


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