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Young at Heart first birthday

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Young at Heart, in Stoke and North Staffs, recently celebrated its first birthday. Since 2014 the project has set up groups in Meir, Kidsgrove and Hanley that meet regularly to provide activities and outings for isolated older people. To celebrate the occasion, the groups held birthday parties complete with cakes, singers and entertainment.

Matt Ford plans to develop the work over the next year so that more people can benefit from the services provided, including developing the new volunteer gardening scheme.

What started out this summer as a small pilot project has now seen 30 people benefit from volunteers mowing their lawn, weeding and generally keeping the outside looking tidy. This reduces crime, improves residents’ homes and provides company and befriending.

Those who have used the service praised the volunteers as being friendly and doing a brilliant job. One lady told BBC Radio Stoke how, if it hadn't been for the service, she would have had to sell her home as she couldn't keep up with the gardening. Now, she is able to stay in the home where she has lived for 30 years.

Referrals to the gardening service come from social services, health services and voluntary partners. All have praised the scheme’s success and are keen for it to grow.

As well as expanding the services provided, Matt is also looking for more volunteers to help out. Volunteers could get involved by preparing or serving food at a lunch club, supporting on coach trips, getting involved in the gardening project and much more. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can contact Matt on 07587-034299.

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