The Friendship Centre

Our long established day centre offers 20 places, on a Monday, 48 weeks a year. We are entering our 26th year as a provider for older people in the Otley Road and Undercliffe area. We are constantly striving to offer a mix of regular activities, such as a hot meal, transport, knitting and snacks, along with an imaginative programme which stimulates, challenges, informs, introduces new experiences and meets the needs that attendees have themselves identified, such as intergenerational projects with our in-house nursery and holiday playschemes, curling, exercise and talks from various local services. The older people who attend are fragile, socially isolated and dependent upon the opportunity to attend, which gives them the capacity to continue living independently.

As Communityworks has a very wide range of community involvement and development, we can provide significant opportunities for social cohesion, benefits and debt advice, community artist, adult learning programme and involvement from health professionals. We also look for opportunities to link with others and are involved in the intergenerational work, have linked up with other centres and groups active at Communityworks. Our work is considerably enhanced by the long established group of committed local volunteers, some who have been involved since it began. craft activity The Friendship Centre serves the area of Otley Road and Undercliffe covering the BD3 and BD2 areas of Bradford. This area has a significant number of isolated elders, who have experienced a major shift in their neighbourhood with people from many different backgrounds moving in. There are also an increasing number of Asian elders who are becoming more isolated as their extended family ties have become less strong. There is a very strong demand for a local day centre within this particularly deprived area of inner city Bradford. The Undercliffe area has in the past been neglected by regeneration initiatives and Communityworks is successfully turning this around and now there are increased opportunities for our very diverse population. There are few choices for local older people and social exclusion/isolation issues are compounded by population shifts and language barriers.

The Friendship Centre welcomes all older people via referral from social services, health providers and other community initiatives including the local church and sheltered housing schemes in the area. Our current older people are isolated white elders, however we recognise the changing nature of the family structure within the Asian community and the increasing isolation of Asian elders. We have been seeking to challenge and influence our current group on community cohesion and have successfully involved people from different ethnic backgrounds and faiths in volunteering within The Friendship Centre. We feel confident that we are in a good position to offer opportunities to all older people from the area. pot planting

We have many opportunities within our building to promote community cohesion, for example our conversation class can practice conversation and reading with the older people, our children (who are from a wealth of mixed heritages) perform for the older people, end of term parties are also good opportunities to bring people together. We are a very well used Community Project and have a very wide range of activity and very diverse groups of people accessing different opportunities.

Communityworks key aims are to develop social cohesion by bringing together communities to plan and work together and to increase the capacity in the neighbourhood by providing opportunities for local people to develop and deliver their own agendas for change. The Friendship Centre builds capacity through volunteering opportunities, employing local people and involving people attending the group at every level. The older people design their own programmes, are involved in recruitment and determine the direction of the activity.