A NEW community initiative that enables Tameside residents to meet others and get support and advice is spreading across the borough.
Fresh Start Clubs provide a caring, supportive and welcoming place for people to drop-in and have a free brew and snack and a chat.
The community-hearted venture was instigated by Tameside Council's Community Safety Team in partnership with housing providers, who have provided venues, funding and support, and volunteers.
The venues will have zoned areas where people can chat, a 'worry box' where people can post their concerns or whatever they wish to discuss and a walled space to place ideas and suggestions. They will have the radio playing in the background to relax to and many will have computer facilities available.
The first was opened at Oasis Community Resource Centre (2 Tatton Road, Haughton Green, M34 7NP) on 14 September, where it will be held every Wednesday from 10-11.30am, with support from Irwell Valley Homes and Jigsaw Homes.
Others will be springing up across Tameside with Fresh Start Clubs initially planned at:
- Stalybridge: Big Local Hub, 4 Ambleside, Ridgehill, Stalybridge, SK15 1EB. Opens on 20 September. Every Tuesday from 9-11am, with support from Ridge Hill Big Local and Jigsaw Homes.
- Newton: Taking place on alternate weeks at two venues: Acresfield Jigsaw Homes Community Hub, 35/37 Acresfield Road, Newton, Hyde, SK14 4HB from 6 October and St Mary's Church, off Bower Court, Talbot Road, Newton, Hyde, SK14 4HL from 13 October. Every Thursday, 9:30-11:30am starting at Acresfield. Supported by Jigsaw Homes.
- Ashton: Ryecroft House, Park Street, Ashton, OL7 0SA. Starts 18 October. Every Tuesday from 10:30am-12noon, with support from Ashton Pioneer Homes.
- Denton: Dates to be confirmed. Will be held at Victoria Park Community Centre with support from Jigsaw Homes.
Councillor Vimal Choksi, Tameside Council Executive Member for Towns and Communities, said: "Fresh Start Clubs are a great initiative where anyone can attend at a warm, informal setting and receive a friendly welcome and free refreshments. They will be caring and supportive places for people to just drop-in and make new friends, or reacquaint with old friends, or get advice from other services running in many of the venues at the same time.
"The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a lot of isolation and people drifting apart but our Fresh Start Clubs will give an opportunity for people to get back together in a safe and social environment and rebuild and develop networks. They will help combat loneliness and also support new people moving into the area, and potentially help Ukrainian families who have moved to Tameside to integrate.
"They will also help community leaders identify any local issues or where support groups are needed."