Leyland community hub reopens to public with free Christmas dinners for the over 65s
A group of Leyland charity trustees are celebrating the revival of a vital community hub by serving up free Christmas dinners for the over 65s.
They will host the celebration on Saturday, December 14, at Moss Side Community Centre in Dunkirk Lane, Leyland, from noon to 4pm.
The Moss Side Community Forum took over the reigns of the building at the end of last month and plan to use it to serve the needs of the community and bring people together.
Trustee Loretta Whiteley said: "It needs to be the heart of the community again, especially as we have a fractured society.
"There are so many lonely people out there and it absolutely breaks my heart. When I was growing up, there were a lot of elderly people but they were never alone. Time's have changed and somewhere along the line we've lost that but there's so much we can do.
"I know if a resident was in trouble there'd be a rally cry so that community spirit is certainly there. It just needs strengthening."
The team decided to host the free dinners to reach out to elderly residents in the area.
"We don't want them to feel lonely. We want to get to know them and cover every facet of the community, from toddlers to the elderly. For us, this is a great way to open the centre," Loretta added.
A singer and raffle will entertain the diners while a two-course meal will be served up.
The centre has been closed for four and a half months but during that time it remained the home to several groups, including Scouts, folk dancers and a drama academy.
But Loretta said the trustees plan to serve as many people as possible. They hope to become involved with Alzheimer Society's Dementia Friends programme and South Ribble Borough Council's "holiday hunger" scheme.
They are also exploring the possibility of opening the hub on weekends to offer a community cafe where people struggling with loneliness can make new friends.
"It has so much potential that's never been tapped into as there's never been a lot of events going on there historically. In the four years since I moved back here from London, I've walked past it everyday and I didn't know until recently that it was a community centre," Loretta said.
"We just want to create a hub where everyone can feel welcome, regardless of their age, race or gender."
She added: "Since we received the keys it's been absolute bedlam but a lovely bedlam. It's a great feeling to be back in there and I've never been more proud to sign my name against something.
"It's an honour to be part of this project - we're not doing it for the glory. It's just so exciting. We're like a bunch of giddy children and the future of the building is so bright."
To book a Christmas meal, ring Loretta on 01772 624126.