Friendship group recognised in T&A Community Stars Awards

Staff and volunteers from the St Mary's New Horizons group enjoying a special lunch at Bradford's Midland Hotel

Staff and volunteers from the St Mary's New Horizons group enjoying a special lunch at Bradford's Midland Hotel

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A BRADFORD charity offering kinship to people suffering from loneliness and social isolation has been nominated in this year's Telegraph & Argus Community Stars Awards.

St Mary's New Horizons in Wyke has been serving its local community for the past 20 years and has around 50 people who regularly access its varied activities.

The group , based at based at St Mary's Church Hall on Green Lane, offers day care and befriending services on behalf of Bradford Council and also runs a community meals programme linked to the Warm Homes, Healthy People partnership.

Volunteers also support people suffering from mild to moderate mental health problems or those in the early stages of dementia, with the group hosting a Wellbeing Cafe for families and carers, called Haven on the Green, every month.

The church warden at St Mary's, Bernard Lewis, nominated New Horizons in the Community Group category of the awards.

"The group plays a vital part in supporting older people to live full lives and maintain their independence," he said.

"It runs activities that keep individuals stimulated and healthy, and people can't wait for events like the monthly cafe to come around."

Manager of the New Horizons project Kay Wright, who has also been nominated for an individual Community Stars Award, highlighted the importance of the 14 people who regularly gave up their time to help support and run the group.

"Our dedicated volunteers are so essential to us, we couldn't our project successfully without them - that's the bottom line," she said.

"It's great to know that our users value us so much, and for the wider community to recognise our volunteers would be really meaningful.

"People get kinship through the group, and we try to make them feel valued and wanted, taking them out of any isolation or loneliness they may feel."

Dr Alec Pratt, who lives near the church hall in Wyke and acts as a carer for his wife, said events put on by the group were always something to look forward to.

"Everybody involved with the group has become friends, and having that company is enjoyable," he said.

"All the staff and volunteers are very helpful and friendly, and always available to provide advice to carers if they can."

The Community Stars Awards are being organised by the T&A and the Council to ensure unsung groups and individuals are rewarded for efforts in their neighbourhoods.

Nominations, which must be received by Monday, September 8, will be whittled down by a panel of judges before a shortlist goes to public vote.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony at City Hall on December 8, where they will each be presented with the prestigious Bradford Medal.

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