An Oulton community group which has been bringing together older members of the community for almost 30 years has received funding to help it continue in a Covid-secure way.
The Oulton Happy Circle Club has been running for almost 30 years, run by a team of volunteers. Members, who are mostly all over 80 years old, meet weekly at Oulton Community Centre, for friendship, card games and bingo. Attendance is just £1 with refreshments provided and the group also enjoys several outings each year.
Following a successful application to the Lowestoft and Northern Parishes Community Partnership’s Small Grant Scheme, the Oulton Happy Circle Club have received £1,200 which will ensure the club can continue to operate safely. The funding will enable a room where they meet at the Oulton Community Centre to be cleaned before and after each meeting.
Cllr Paul Ashdown, East Suffolk ward councillor for Lothingland and Chair of the Lowestoft and Northern Parishes Community Partnership, said: “Through our Small Grants Scheme, funding was made available for groups providing services which address our Community Partnership priorities, including tackling loneliness and social isolation. The Oulton Happy Circle provides an opportunity for local older people to meet and spend time together and this funding will ensure this opportunity continues to be available. Brian Hunter has spent many years supporting good causes and so it is a pleasure to present this cheque to him and the Happy Circle.”
Brian Hunter, from the Oulton Happy Circle said: “On behalf of the Happy Circle Club, we are very grateful that this welcome funding will enable the club to continue to provide every Tuesday afternoon the opportunity to meet safely with friends.”
A cheque was presented by Cllr Ashdown and Vice Chair Danny Steel to the Oulton Happy Circle members on Tuesday 29 June.
Some of the Happy Circle members have also been selected to receive Grandpads, through East Suffolk Council's Grandpad Project which aims to tackle social isolation and loneliness amongst clinically extremely vulnerable residents. Grandpads are tablets which been specifically designed around the need of older adults, with large buttons and an intuitive interface making it easier for older people to use to connect with loved ones and the outside world without the complicated features of other tablets. The devices also feature a private family network that blocks incoming calls and emails from unknown people, mitigating the risk of falling victim to scams.
After the cheque presentation, three members of the Happy Circle group received their Grandpads and some training from Joss Mullett, East Suffolk Health Projects Officer.