AN award-winning community group is inviting residents and organisations to help celebrate its success, while welcoming a newly-created group.

From April 1, Local Healthwatch will replace Darlington Local Involvement Network (Link), which ceases to operate on March 31.

The aim is to give more people an opportunity to share their views about Darlington’s health and social care services.

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The group will ensure patients’ voices are at the heart of decision-making.

Healthwatch will provide advice and information to the public, support the voluntary and community sector, and engage with residents in new and innovative ways.

The open day, on Wednesday (March 13), from 10am until 3pm in the Dolphin Centre’s Central Hall, will also give people the opportunity to find out more about volunteering opportunities within Darlington.

Link volunteer Michelle Thompson said Healthwatch would have a broader remit than the old organisation.

During the morning session, guest speakers will be from the voluntary infrastructure organisation eVOLution, and Citizens Advice Bureau.

Existing volunteers will share their experiences including Mrs Thompson who was recently awarded a British Empire Medal for her charity and community work.

Afternoon speakers will be from Link, Healthwatch and Darlington Borough Council with a chance to explore lots of volunteering opportunities and make a difference to your local community.

To register an interest, call Link, on 01325-380145 or email