Community Centre Reaches Out During Pandemic


April 14, 2020

A thriving community centre is leading south Lancaster’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Barton Road Centre usually sees more than 600 people a week through its doors and now that its usual activities have been suspended owing to the pandemic, it is co-ordinating support for people in the Bowerham, Scotforth and Newlands areas of Lancaster.

Some 2,500 leaflets have been distributed to homes by the centre’s volunteers to help provide support for anyone who is ill or self-isolating.

A  network of volunteers is being set up to help others by delivering shopping, posting mail, walking dogs, supporting the Barton Road Centre office or offering a friendly phone call to someone who may live alone.

The Centre’s daily management is overseen by a charity whose trustees all live locally and its community co-ordinator, Denise Nardone, (pictured) has been employed by the charity since 2012.

 “We are not trying to compete with other organisations offering help, we are just another point of contact,” Denise explained.

“Many of our older people in south Lancaster don’t have access to internet services so we’re offering a way of keeping them connected to help maintain their mental health and wellbeing, and we’ve already seen such a positive response from people who’ve just received a friendly phone call.”

Groups that usually meet at the Centre including the Big Lottery funded Memory Makers for people with memory loss and the Thursday Coffee Morning Group are already receiving weekly phone calls. The Centre is also posting out activities for its regular visitors such as quizzes and seeds to plant in the garden.  

The Centre’s Babies and Toddlers Group has recruited Mojo the puppet to sing a song every Wednesday morning on Barton Road’s Facebook page and rehearsal videos are being sent out to the Barton Road Community Choir so they can continue to practise their repertoire in their own homes.

Almost 100 people have already responded to Barton Road’s appeal, either to volunteer their time or requiring support.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or who lives in south Lancaster and needs support, should ring Barton Road Centre on 01524 65622 between 9am-1pm or email [email protected]re.co.uk for more information.