Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WONEWS to 80360, or email
Ilkley Winter Gardens opens its doors for the elderly
Staff at the refurbished Winter Gardens in Ilkley flung open the doors on Friday to welcome older people in for the official opening of a new venture called Open House For Seniors.
Open House is designed to combat social isolation and loneliness in older people, and thanks to the generosity of Bradford Theatres, Open House For Seniors, is now able to run a Friday drop-in at The Winter Gardens each week from 10am to 2pm.
It is a chance for older people to enjoy a friendly welcome with a cup of tea and refreshments, plus exercise classes and nail-cutting services.
The official opening on Friday saw chairman of Ilkley Parish Council Councillor Mike Gibbons welcome guests.
“Joining other people and being together is a wonderful thing to do,” he told said.
“I hope you will come and be here as often as you would like to because you will be made very welcome.”
Open House, run by volunteers, already has a successful drop-in session at St George’s Hall in Bradford three days a week, and when Mark Davies, halls manager for Bradford Theatres, saw the advantages it gave to older people in the district, he offered the use of The Winter Gardens.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain, praised the venue and the creative partnership between the volunteers of Open House and Bradford Theatres.
Open House chairman Pam James said: “Open House is renowned for its friendly welcome and hundreds of people come in to Bradford from all over the district during the year. It is hoped this new venture will give the same pleasure to Ilkley people and indeed the visitors to the town.”
She said it was a place to find new friends and urged people not to be nervous about speaking to people they didn’t know.
“Do come and see for yourself this superb venue now offering a friendly welcome with a cuppa plus other activities,” she added.
Guests went on to enjoy poetry readings by Joy Howard and Gina Shaw, who read from a new anthology of poems, all written by women aged over 60, and refreshments provided by Steve Charlesworth, who runs the Mr Loafer Bakery.