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Formby & Ince Blundell Labour councillor hails launch of Formby Hub project which is already tackling social isolation among older residents

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A project which has been designed to bring people together in Formby is now up and running.

Formby Hub has brought together community groups, societies, churches, health agencies and other organisations in the town, Ince Blundell and Hightown so that they are all under one umbrella and easily accessible to people who need them.

The hub, which has been spearheaded by Formby Area Partnership under the chairmanship of Ravenmeols Labour councillor Catie Page, is a centralised database of up-to-date information which is held at Formby Pool, Formby Library, Formby Luncheon Club and Freshfield Children's Centre.

It is a joint initiative with the Formby Project.

The scheme is designed to help eradicate loneliness and isolation among the town's older residents.

Formby Hub co-ordinator, Heather Davies, said the project is already proving to be a success.

Heather said: "There is a lot of older and retired people here in Formby so there is a real danger that people can become isolated and lonely. Formby Hub aims to tackle that.

"We provide each hub access point with information which can bring people together in groups, social clubs and organisations where people will be able to mix with other like minded people.

"As well as that, we are holding a number of community events activities, with the latest being Remember, Remember the 11th of November when from 12noon-3pm at Formby Sports and Social Club on Whitehouse Lane, we will be providing hotpot and giving people the opportunity to commemorate our fallen heroes.

"Working together with the Formby Project, which is a befriending scheme, we offer companionship and support to people who are isolated.

"Each Tuesday from 1pm-3pm, we hold a drop in for people at Formby Pool  to have a coffee or a tea. Again, it is an opportunity for people to get together. People can drop in, meet new people and make new friends and be part of the community. That is exactly what we are all about."

Sefton Library assistant, Ian Edgley, said this was a ground breaking new scheme in the borough.

Ian said: "There has always been lots of fragmented information about community groups and activities in the community, but it has never been collated. Formby Hub makes sure that information is centralised and it is all to hand for anyone who needs it.

"We have been using the hub already and we have found it to be great..

"This means we have a fully up-to-date central information.

"It means we can now make sure we can help people effectively."

Cllr Catie Page said she was delighted the project was up and running.

Cllr Page said: "Loneliness has been shown to have a profound impact upon people's health and wellbeing. It's been shown to contribute to high blood pressure, cognitive decline and increasing chances of developing clinical dementia and heart disease.

"Formby Hub is about tackling that. It's about making the process of meeting people a bit easier. Heather is the dedicated point of contact for that. She is co-ordinating the project and making sure that people have a friendly face to get information from.

"We have chosen four hub access points where we know older people will go to and where they can then access information from any staff member who is trained up on using the hub and identifying opportunities to connect people.

"We are also going to where older people are to share the news about the Formby Hub, including the flu clinic where we told people about what we are doing and what is available to them. We also asked them how they would like the project to evolve and what it should include.

"And we have held and are holding various events for older people to come along to.

"Formby Hub was an initiative that we realised that we needed through the Formby Area Partnership. When we came up with the idea, there was a team of people who worked really hard to get the project off the ground and make it a success.

"It is thanks to their hardwork and dedication to this project that we have been able to get Formby Hub off the ground.

"Our sole focus is on making the lives of people in Formby better and doing all that we can to eradicate social isolation in our community."

To find out more about Formby Hub, call in to any one of the hub access points, Formby Pool, Formby Library, Formby Luncheon Club and Freshfield Children's Centre, or call in to Formby Pool each Tuesday from 1pm-3pm to meet the Formby Hub team and enjoy a tea or coffee.

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