Social centre is a treasured lifeline

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A CENTRE in Rugby which brings physically disabled people together has been described as a ‘lifeline’ by users.

The Hoskyn Centre invites men and women of all ages to meet in a warm and friendly environment.

Its aim is to avoid social isolation and provide home-cooked meals and activities.

Manager Irene Moore explained the centre received no funding and relied on donations.

“People get so much from the service,” she said.

“For some, its their only social outlet. It can also give their carers a break.”

Centre activities include bingo, raffles, tombolas, crafts, gentle keep-fit and going on outings in the ambulance.

Irene, who has been involved with the centre for 20 years, said: “It’s a chance for friends to get together over a cup of coffee and just have a chat.”

Lewis Eifion and friend Mary Tonks have been visiting the Hoskyn Centre, based at Hamilton House in Bilton, for many years.

“I look forward to coming,” said Lewis.

“We play dominoes, talk and get a nice meal cooked for us.”

Mary said she looked forward to catching up with other members.

“You could say it has been a lifeline for me since my husband died. I come to the centre twice a week.”

The centre has seven volunteers and five salaried (part-time) posts.

Mary paid tribute to the staff and volunteers who ran the centre.

“They are brilliant,” said Mary.

“I make a joke that I only come for my dinners! It’s a great place and we wouldn’t be without it.”

Brom Brommage, 88, has enjoyed visiting the centre for 42 years.

She said: “I’d be lost without it.

“It’s the social side of things that I look forward to.”

Last Wednesday, a Diamond Jubilee Party was enjoyed by everyone at the centre.

Rugby Mayor Kathryn Lawrence had the tough job of judging the best bonnet and finally narrowed it down to four winners.

Irene said: “I’m glad I didn’t have the mayor’s job as it was such a tough decision.

“Everyone had a wonderful time, and in the afternoon you couldn’t hear yourself think because of all the singing and music!”

It costs more than £105,000 a year to keep the centre open and the charity relies on donations and help with fundraising.

“We rely on help,” said Irene.

“New volunteers are always welcome as are donations, however big or small.”

There’s an uplifting atmosphere at the centre, plenty of conversation and lots of laughter.

“It’s so rewarding,” said Irene.

“I just wish we received more funding.”

If you would like to volunteer at the Hoskyn Centre or would like to make a donation, telephone (01788) 542397.