Community chips in for new kitchen at Fryern

Ribbon is cut on updated catering facility at the Age Concern Centre

Lillian Joy – who has used the centre for over 30 years – cut the ribbon

When the Age Concern Centre at Fryern found itself in need of a new kitchen, members of the local community chipped in to cover the costs and on Monday, supporters, tradesmen, fundraisers and donors gathered at the centre to celebrate the opening of the updated kitchen with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Chandler’s Ford Age Concern Centre offers a wide range of services and support to help improve the health, wellbeing and quality of life for older folk in Eastleigh but the 120 year-old building on Brownhill Road – a converted Methodist chapel – was showing signs of age. Thanks to fund raising by supporters through cake sales, coffee mornings and generous donations from local businesses and organisations, £9,000 was collected – enough to fund a complete refurbishment of the Kitchen facility.

The new Kitchen

In a short speech Peter Howells, Joint Chair of the Age Concern Centre gave a brief history of the building and it’s role in the welfare of local seniors.

Mr Howells told how the original chapel had been built in 1900 by Chandler’s Ford’s Methodists. Prior to the building of  the Dovetail centre in 1959, the chapel was sold to the Chandler’s Ford Old Peoples Welfare Committee for £2,000 for use as a community facility for older people.  A number of clubs used it as a luncheon club, a gardening club and as a meeting hall. In 1967 a kitchen extension was built and some of the original cooking equipment has just been replaced in the refurbishment,

The name of the centre and committee was changed in 1979 to Chandler’s Ford Age Concern . Mr Howells explained that at the time it was noted “people over the age of 60 increasingly resented being called old” .

The Centre continues to be hired out to a variety groups that serve the needs of the elderly such as The Happy Bunch Club which caters for over 70s on Tuesday afternoons. The Centre also hosts coffee mornings and a range of exercise classes

Mr Howells told Eastleigh News how important the centre was to those older people who had suffered bereavement

For the elderly – particularly those who have had a loved one die  they can find the support they need at the clubs and at the time they need it most.

Sometimes a visit to the club is the only time an elderly person gets out of the house – and we can provide the transport too – by renting the One Community bus”

To cheers, the ribbon was cut and the Kitchen declared open by Guest of Honour Lillian Joy who has been using centre for 30 years as a member of the Happy Bunch Club. She first started using the cub shortly after her husband died and is the centre’s longest serving user.

Councillor Judith Grajewski who had contributed to the works with a donation from her Hampshire County Councillors Grant said:

This is a long-established centre that is well known in Chandler’s Ford. They have about 100 people as members, but the facilities were dated. For many users, coming to the club  is hugely important in combating loneliness – Elderly people do much better when they are able to socialise with each other

Other donors who were present were :

Kevin Williams  – The Co-op Chandler’s Ford (Fryern) store

Cllr Janet Evans – Vice Chair, Chandler’s Ford Parish Council

Edward Burt – President Chandler’s Ford and Itchen Valley Rotary Club

John Ewbank representing Eastleigh Masonic Lodge

Heather Tomlinson who raised money through cake sales.

Fund raisers and donors: L-R, Kevin WIlliams, Heather Tomlinson, Cllr Janet Evans, John Ewbank, Cllr Judith Grajewski, Edward Burt