A CLUB offering life changing support to older people in the community has been awarded £1,000 from a regional builder’s charity fund.

Friends Together, based in Crook, County Durham, tackles social isolation and normally offers older people the chance to meet up once a week. The group has been handed the funds by Persimmon Homes Durham as its Community Champions scheme looks to assist the over 70s during Covid-19.

Eunice Smith, who made the successful funding bid for the group, said: “This group has been running for nearly two years and has changed people’s lives.

“Those who were feeling very lonely and isolated come together every Thursday in the local community leisure centre.

"They join together playing games, listening to presentations on local projects and also like to sing and dance to entertainers. They enjoy refreshments, bingo and raffle.

“Since the group began and gained more members they have made new friends and enjoy going for trips and meals out.

"One couple have got engaged after meeting at the group and spoke how the loneliness has now gone and how they are feeling happy in their later years.

“This generous donation from Persimmon Homes Durham will be a huge help to our community and will help us delivering much needed help and support.”

Persimmon Homes Durham launched Community Champions in 2015 with a view to helping community groups, charities and good causes across County Durham, Wearside and South Tyneside.

However, as the nation continues to feel the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak, the housebuilder feels that, at the moment, elderly communities are in the most need of support. The change of direction came into effect from April.

Each month the Bowburn-based builder donates up to £2,000 to community groups across the region. This also happens across Persimmon’s other 31 operating areas, meaning up to £64,000 is dished out every single month – a total of £768,000 a year.

Richard Cook, director in charge of Persimmon Homes Durham, said: “We are fortunate to be able to support our communities and give back in the areas in which we are building.

“We would urge any group working with older people to visit the Persimmon Homes website and to try and become our next Community Champion.”

For more information or to apply for Community Champions funding visit persimmonhomes.com/charity.