Yearly Archives: 2018

RVS are recruiting Buddies

Royal Voluntary Service are recruiting for two positions supporting their Buddy scheme in Chester, Malpas and Winsford. Full details of the roles can be found on their website.

Wellbeing Week is a huge success

Now in it’s third year, Winsford Wellbeing Week offers information and advice as well as a range of free activities.

These range from line dancing to Nordic walking. 

This year our partners at Community Compass invited the residents from Daneside Court to the launch party at the Dingle Centre.

Read the full story in the Winsford Guardian here.

Joan Meredith (88)

Joan was feeling lonely before she discovered the Brightlife social group in Malpas. She’d always led an interesting life as a teacher of the deaf and as an activist in different kinds of campaigns including anti-nuclear, women’s rights, anti-apartheid, domestic violence and prison welfare. It was during her recovery from breast cancer that she found out about Brightlife.

“I didn’t know anyone in Malpas when I moved here and was just sitting in the house on my own day after day. So, I decided to join the NHS walking group when someone mentioned the Brightlife social group. It has really helped to bring people together and I have met some amazing people … including my friend Doris who had been in the WRENS during the war. Sadly, she passed away recently but if it had not been for Brightlife we would never have met. That is what this is all about – meeting people, discovering their stories and making friends.”

Joan believes that the great thing about Brightlife is that it is older people who are involved in shaping the projects, so they are putting on events and activities that she is interested in. She worked in a residential home for a time in her career and explained that she always asked the residents what they wanted to do before she organised things for them.

When asked what advice she would give her younger self, Joan said: “It is all about confidence. I would tell my younger self to go for things and find out more – when I think back, I was afraid of so many things that I needn’t have been!”

Joan is a truly amazing woman for all of the campaigning she has done throughout her life, tirelessly working to give a voice to difficult issues (although she refuses to accept she is amazing!) … but even now at 88 she continues to tackle issues that she believes in, no matter what her age is. That is truly inspiring and amazing to anyone.

Interview by Kate Cousens in celebration of International Women’s Day 2018

Great Get Together Think In

With the recent announcement of the Great Get Together 2018 to be held between 22nd-24th June, here is your chance to attend this Think-in to help shape this years event at the Storyhouse Chester in Partnership with Brightlife.

At this social afternoon, you can take part in a guided tour of Storyhouse and help generate ideas of how to reach, inspire and encourage lonely people to get back involved. The session will be held on Monday 5th March between 2-5pm and we will meet in the Lobby / Garret Bar.

The Great get Together is a weekend of get togethers across the UK, inspired by Jo Cox. #MoreInCommon

Winsford Wellbeing Week 2018

You are cordially invited to join Community Compass and Brightlife as we help launch Winsford Wellbeing Week 2018.

Monday 19th February 2017, 10am – 1.30pm
At the Dingle Centre, High Street, Winsford CW7 2AS

Launch day timings are as follows:

9.30am – Early bird origami with Cross Hatch Gallery
10.00 – Arrival and refreshments
10.45 – Welcome and Introductions
11.00 – Seated exercise (for those who want to) with Community Compass
11.20 – Mike Hammer entertainment
12.00 – Buffet Lunch
12.00-12.50 – Ageless Ukes performance and Sing-along
1.00pm – Finish

For more details please call Social Prescriber for Winsford; Jackie Brown on 07736 168348.

CRT awarded over £200k

The Canal & River Trust were recently awarded over £200,000 of funding from Sport England to help reduce the number of inactive older adults (people over 55) in Cheshire.

This project, in partnership with Active Cheshire, aims to use the extensive waterway network to find new ways to encourage older people to get active on and alongside water. Over the next 3 years, the project aims to train 12 active volunteers and develop a programme of activities along Cheshire’s canals and rivers.

Winsford has been identified as one of only 2 pilot sites that we will be working in this year, and they would love your help. To make the most of this fantastic opportunity and investment, they want to speak to local groups and organisations to help shape and stay involved in this project.

Working together the Canal & River Trust can make sure that this project adds value to you and your group locally. Whether you can help us develop the right programme for Winsford, play a part in the delivery, or just want to find out more and share your opinion, why not join them?

The event takes place on the 12th February 2018. Address: The Dingle Centre, High Street, Winsford, Cheshire, CW7 2AS.

13:00 – 15:00 – Local groups and service providers

15:00 – 18:00 – Local residents

You don’t need to join them for the whole time, just drop by. For more information about the project or this workshop, please contact:

Adam Norris –

Gill Renshaw –

The Care Hub Service has been developed by a consortium of partners including GPs from West Cheshire CCG, Brightlife, Brio Leisure and other stakeholders to further links to, and knowledge of Social Prescribing facilities available to our patients.

Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services.

Recognising that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health.

Social prescribing schemes can involve a variety of activities which are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, legal advice, support groups, specific health issues organisations, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.

Social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs, and many schemes are focused on improving mental health and physical well-being. Those who could benefit from social prescribing schemes include people with mild or long-term mental or physical health problems, vulnerable groups, people who are socially isolated, and those who frequently attend either primary or secondary health care.

To access the Care Hub service, click the link provided: is a free and impartial service provided by NHS GP surgeries in partnership with Brio Leisure, Macmillan, Brightlife, Age UK and other stakeholder groups. Not every service or provision is free of charge and patients should make themselves aware of any charges they may be expected to pay.

Minister for Loneliness appointed

Brightlife welcomes the news that the Government has appointed a Minister for Loneliness. Tracey Crouch MP will be working across parties and communities to tackle the ever-growing issue of loneliness, which affects over nine thousand people in our borough.

The Commission on Loneliness was first set up by the late MP Jo Cox and the appointment of Tracey Crouch MP to this new ministerial role will continue Ms Cox’s legacy.  Ms Crouch has indicated that a multi-million pound fund will be utilised to help create a framework and develop a government strategy for the future.

“This is a very significant appointment that recognises loneliness as a social epidemic” explains Chris McClelland, Head of Brightlife. ‘Our focus in Cheshire West and Chester has been to open discussions about loneliness in people aged over 50 and help them reconnect with their community so they can start enjoying life again. Part of our work is to combat rural isolation so to have commitment from the government to invest in combatting loneliness is a real step forward.”

Brightlife is a partnership working with local agencies from across the voluntary, public and private sectors supported by the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery funding.

“Brightlife is a lifeline for hundreds of people living in Chester” explains group member, Boughton resident Evadne Traske, “…it gives you the confidence to ‘get back out there’ after illness, loss or bereavement because they make personal contact with you and then take the time to understand you as an individual, so they can support you to make new friendships.”

The Brightlife Social Drop-Ins are held in Vicars Cross, Handbridge, Lache, Malpas and Winsford with free activities from over thirty local organisations hosted regularly for people aged 50+ across the borough. Call Brightlife on 01606 884444 for more information or visit

Anne Davis

“I saw an ad for a Brightlife Drop-In being held the church hall at St-Mary-Without-The-Walls and thought I’d try it. Sue who runs it is always very welcoming and I’m really enjoying it.

I didn’t like being on my own after my husband died, so now I make sure I get out as often as I can. There is the odd day when I don’t see anyone but I know how important it is to stay active.

I’m a social member of the U3A but still like to make an effort to investigate what else is around so I can keep on meeting new people.

PM commits to tackling loneliness

On Wednesday 17th January the Prime Minister announced how government is tackling loneliness and combating social isolation.

She announced that the government is accepting a series of recommendations from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.

The Prime Minister hosted a reception at Downing Street to celebrate Jo Cox’s legacy, and the important work of her family, Foundation and the Commission in highlighting how many people are experiencing loneliness.

Research shows:

– More than 9 million people always or often feel lonely

– Around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month

– Up to 85% of young disabled adults – 18-34 year olds – feel lonely

To read the whole story, click here.

Bright Ideas Information Workshop

Brightlife will be delivering two new Bright Ideas information workshops in February 2018.

The next workshop will be on 13th February at The Barbour Institute, High St, Tattenhall CH3 9PX

The event will be from 10 until 12 noon and will be aimed at people and organisations who are considering applying for the next round of Bright Ideas funding. These workshops will aim to give information and advice about submitting an application and will explain what makes a successful bid. We will also be able to answer any questions about the requirements. More details about the funding is available on our website We advise people to read all the guidance information on the website to make sure the project meets Brightlife funding requirements. Applications can be submitted between 22nd January and 23rd March and panel meetings will be held in April to decide which projects are funded.

If you would like to book a place please email Chris Mitchell

New Brightlife Tender Opportunities

Brightlife has three new Key Commissions that have opened for tender.

Dementia Project in Winsford and Chester

This ambitious £350,000 project will focus on the links between dementia and isolation and loneliness. By working with people living with dementia and their carers in Winsford and Chester, the project will aim to understand the best approaches to helping them remain connected to their communities.

This is a diverse project, requiring different specialisms, and so we are looking for a collaboration between organisations in order to deliver it.

The tender period for this commission will close at 5:00pm on 23rd February 2018.

Full details can be found at:

Projects to Engage OIder Men

Brightlife’s current commissions are doing some fantastic work across the borough but, like many other projects for older people, they are working with far more women than men overall. Engaging men aged 50 and over can often be challenging and so we are looking for projects that will use innovative methods to address this.

We would like to commission at least two projects that will seek to meet the needs, interests and preferences of older men.

The tender period for this commission will close at 5:00pm on 16th February 2018.

Full details can be found at:

Projects for People Living with Long Term Conditions and/or Carers

Living with a long term condition, or caring for someone who is, increases the risk of experiencing isolation and loneliness. Brightlife is looking for innovative projects that will attempt to address the issues and barriers faced by these groups of people and help keep them connected with others.

We’re looking for projects that will support people living with any long term condition other than dementia for this commission. Projects that include carers are also welcome, as are projects that focus only on the carers themselves.

The tender period for this commission will close at 5:00pm on 16th February 2018.

Full details can be found at:

Support with Your Tender

Chester Voluntary Action (CVA) are available to support organisations at all stages of the tender process, from developing your idea to completing our tender response form.

To find out more, please contact Joanne Stanton at CVA on 01244 401272 or

Bright Ideas

Alongside these Key Commissions is our Bright Ideas funding process. We know there are lots of people in our communities with good ideas about how to reduce isolation and loneliness for people aged 50 and over. Bright Ideas is an opportunity to turn these ideas into reality.

Community groups and organisations can apply for any amount between £5,000 and £20,000 to fund a project of up to two years in length.

The next round opens on 22nd January 2018 and closes on 23rd March 2018. For more details, please see and look out for the Bright Ideas Newsletter in early February with more information.

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