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Good Neighbours: Specialist centre provides support to the vulnerable

Cllr Neil Wilson, with employees from McGraw Hill Financial and beneficiaries of donations Cllr Neil Wilson, with employees from McGraw Hill Financial and beneficiaries of donations

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
9:00 AM

With Christmas approaching, vulnerable residents are in need of help and support.

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John CooperJohn Cooper

At the Adult Community Resource Centre in Chargeable Lane, Plaistow, more than 250 people arrive, up to five times a week, to talk to someone, to learn new skills, take up opportunities to access IT courses, a gym, lunch clubs, and arts and crafts.

The specialist day service offers support for vulnerable elderly people and adults with profound disabilities.

The long-serving centre manager is Gill Otter.

People must pass the Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) eligibility criteria to receive adult care services from Newham Council, and one such person is 96-year-old John Cooper, of Marcus Street.

John has lived in the borough since 1959 and has been blind for more than 30 years. He has been coming to the centre for the past two years.

He said: “I come to the centre three days a week and it is a godsend.

“I lost my wife, Norma May, to dementia in 1969 and you can get lonely, and it gets quiet.

“But I can come here and chat, see people and have a good time,” he added.

“What the people at the centre do to help people – their hard work – it really is wonderful that they do that.”

The East End Community Foundation, with help from business group McGraw Hill Financial, organised the delivery of grocery bags to the centre on Friday.

McGraw Hill staff donated the food and stored it in their offices in Canary Wharf until the delivery.

Cllr Neil Wilson, executive member for equalities and social inclusion, said: “The centre provides valuable support, as well as learning and development opportunities to a large number of older people in Newham.

“I would like to thank the East End Community Foundation for coordinating this appeal, which will help to bring a little bit of Christmas joy into the lives of so many vulnerable, older people.”

Alessandra Figueiredo, 40, from McGraw Hill, said: “The work is important, not only because they are old and they are isolated, but also the type of food that was requested is easy to prepare and therefore friendly for someone who is frail.

“It is an essential service that we offer because they are lonely.”

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