How elderly people in Leeds are keeping warm with this supper club during winter

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Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Leeds city centre, a group of older people sit around the table among familiar faces for supper.

But the Winter Warmth Supper Club, at New Wortley Community Centre, is not just about food.

The Winter Warmth Supper Club, at New Wortley Community Centre, Leeds.

The Winter Warmth Supper Club, at New Wortley Community Centre, Leeds.

It was launched by the Armley Helping Hands charity, as a way to keep elderly people out of the cold during winter and to stop them feeling isolated.

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The club has grown in popularity and now dozens of elderly people attend its weekly meetings.

“The key thing for us is early intervention, prevention and reducing social isolation,” says Dawn Newsome, chief executive of the charity that was established in 1995 to support elderly people.

“We try to encourage older people to have an active lifestyle.

“It’s one of our biggest fears that if you are not with someone, you will be on your own.”

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The supper club has also helped to cut hospital admissions, according to Ms Newsome, as charity staff are often able to catch health issues earlier as they arise because of regular meetings with members.

“It’s about saying ‘don’t worry’ - whether they are 55 or 95-years-old, and finding out what they need to maintain their independence in the city,” she said.

“Now dark nights are starting earlier, if you live by yourself it can be a long time in the dark on your own.

“Some people stand in their garden just to see people passing.”

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She also spoke about trips organised by the charity, including a recent outing to Tong Garden Centre, giving people a chance to buy gifts for family or friends that they may not otherwise have had

Alongside its supper club and trips, the organisation offers health and wellbeing advice, from exercise to diets.

It also arranges regular coffee mornings and reminder or exercise sessions to help keep people active.

“We promote a healthy diet,” Ms Newsome said.

“Significantly, we keep an eye on them so that if we see someone’s mobility is deteriorating, or their health is deteriorating, we can speak to their family and intervene earlier.”

She said one woman who the charity had been involved with, aged 87, underwent a knee operation.

While it would have usually taken a long period before she was back on her feet, she recovered quicker because she took part in chair exercises organised by the charity.

The charity has also been helping vulnerable residents over winter by checking their boilers are serviced, to keep them warm, and identifying potential trip or fall hazards in homes.

The supper club runs every Wednesday.

Click here to learn more about the support on offer from Armley Helping Hands