A community group in Walker aimed at the over-55s has received a very welcome Christmas present.

The Happy Mondays social group has been granted £500 from YHN’s Positive People Positive Places fund to run a variety of sessions, including a crafts workshop.

YHN (Your Homes Newcastle) is an ‘arm’s-length’ management company set up by Newcastle City Council to improve and manage council homes and related council services.

Anne Heraghty, who is from Walker and regularly attends the craft sessions, said, “The Happy Mondays group is a fantastic start to the week.”

“I really look forward to it and go home feeling better afterwards. Without it, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.”

“I think we often forget that older people who live on their own need to laugh and have the opportunity to enjoy themselves.”

“The group isn’t just about crafts and getting messy – it’s lots of fun and people of our age need that in their lives.”

Jacqui Marlow, who is originally from Newcastle’s West End and helps run some of the Happy Mondays’ sessions, said, “Older people can forget how to play. They can forget to live and forget to laugh. Since joining this group, I’ve never heard so much laughter.”

“As well as taking on projects, we support and encourage each other. We encourage everyone to make new friends and learn new skills in a social environment, but beyond that, for a lot of the people, it’s a vital lifeline.”

YHN’s Positive People Positive Places fund has made £10,000 available that community groups across Newcastle can apply for a share of. The groups must show that their work will benefit local people and communities.

The shortlisted applications are put to a public vote, with the most popular projects being awarded a share of the fund. During 2017, 61 groups applied for funding and 19 of those were given grants following the vote.

One project which has benefitted from the fund is Beach Tuesdays. This initiative, run by the YMCA, brings youngsters from different communities together by giving them a day at the beach.  

Another project that has received funding is Streetwise Summer Street Fests. This initiative enabled 200 young people from Benwell and Blakelaw to participate in urban street art sessions during the summer.

The director of customer services at YHN, Matthew Foreman, said, “Our Positive People Positive Places fund offers an opportunity for community groups to get a little support from us to develop and deliver some really creative projects that can actually make a huge difference to people’s lives.”

“It’s fantastic to hear that the Happy Mondays group has had such success with its craft projects and that the benefits of the group are so wide-ranging.”

Positive People Positive Places will once again be open for funding applications in spring 2019. To learn more, please email Amina Razak on amina.razak@yhn.org.uk.

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