Milestone for Armley OAP charity

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A CHARITY which provides a lifeline for older people and their families in west Leeds celebrated a major milestone yesterday

More than 100 pensioners helped Armley Helping Hands celebrate its 20th anniversary at an event at the White Rose Banqueting Suite on Tong Road.

The charity, based at Strawberry Lane Community Centre, Armley, was set up in June 1995 by a group of local people and community activists who were concerned about the welfare of older people.

Dawn Newsome – the first worker employed by the newly created charity – is now its chief executive officer.

She said: “Our project has grown in response to the needs and aspirations of local older people in Armley and Wortley.

“We have carefully listened to our members and tried to respond appropriately by providing a range of services, advice, support and varied social and healthy living activities, enabling older people to live independently and to pro­actively participate within their own communities.

“At the same time we have worked very hard to raise the necessary resources to enable us to offer a professional and comprehensive support network.”

The charity now employs eight staff and has 30 volunteers who each help out for an average of 544 hours a year at the charity

Mrs Newsome added: “Our volunteers are the core of the organisation. Without them we wouldn’t be able to deliver 70 per cent of the services we do. We would like to thank the White Rose Banqueting Suite who provided the excellent venue for free.”

The Lord Mayor Leeds, Coun Judith Chapman, and around 500 the charity’s key partners joined in the celebrations at yesterday’s event.

Former Leeds West Labour MP John Battle, who has supported the charity since it was launched, was also at the event.