Old friends reunited at launch of care hub
THIS was the moment when former school friends Bill Balmer and Paul Critchley met for the first time in years, thanks to a new initiative to support elderly people in the community.
The two pals were both guests at the launch of the Community Activity Hub at Ormskirk’s Civic Hall, designed to link carers, care homes and the elderly in the community.
Bill and Paul, both 87 years old, were pupils at Christ Church Primary in Aughton throughout the 1930s.
Paul now lives in Skelmersdale and Bill is a resident at Abbey Wood Lodge care home in Ormskirk.
The pair will be able to take advantage of the hub’s monthly meetings to catch up.
The Community Activity Hub has been created by Athena Healthcare Group and spearheaded by Group Head of Care, Gaye Clark, and Group Events Coordinator, Lesley Malone.
Bill’s daughter, Diane Brooks, also attended the launch and said: “It was wonderful to see my dad meet up with his old friend Paul.
“I think initiatives like this that bring older people together are great and I know my dad had a fabulous afternoon!”
The Community Activity Hub launch welcomed guests from across Lancashire and Merseyside, including the Mayor of West Lancashire, Cllr Liz Savage, Everton FC’s Community Organiser Henry Mooney and former Everton FC Player Pat Van Den Hauwe.
Representatives and residents from more than 10 care homes also attended, including Athena’s care homes – Parklands Lodge and Abbey Wood Lodge.
Skelmersdale Community Singers and Paul McCartney tribute act John Macca provided entertainment, while local school Burscough Priory Science College reached out to lend a helping hand, sending PE teacher Alex Rimmer with six pupils from Year 9.
Gaye Clark, Group Head of Care at Athena Healthcare Group, said: “We’re thrilled to have finally launched our Community Activity Hub.
“We had a wonderful afternoon and it was absolutely fabulous to see so many from the local community come together as one as we work to help people age well, not only in Ormskirk but across the North West!
“We’re very much looking forward to next month’s hub as we share upcoming activities and day trips for everyone to get involved with.”
Care Manager of Athena’s Parklands Lodge, Benn Mott, said: “The Community Activity Hub is our chance to make a difference to people’s lives in the community by reaching out and getting them involved with all the fabulous activities and day trips that are happening right on their doorstep.
“I’m so proud to be part of such a fantastic initiative and looking forward to watching it grow as more people get involved!”
The Community Activity Hub will take place once a month at the Civic Hall in Ormskirk.
The next hub will take from on Wednesday, April 19, 2 - 4pm.
To find out more about the Community Activity Hub, please call Parkland’s Lodge reception on 01704 771111.