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Library club to combat loneliness in men celebrates first birthday

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THE Silver Fox Club has gone from strength to strength at Burtonwood Library.

The club which was launched at Burtonwood Library to help address loneliness and social isolation in older men has now celebrated its first birthday.

The Silver Fox Club – named by the men themselves at the very first meeting – meets every Tuesday from 9.30am to 11.30am at the Chapel Lane library.

LiveWire staff at the library decided to start the group 12 months ago after hearing feedback from library users that they felt there was a lack of social events and opportunities for men in the area.

The group has gone from strength to strength, with men from ages 60 to 93 meeting every week for a brew, biscuits and a chat.

What started out as a simple weekly coffee morning has grown into something much more for the men who regularly attend.

The Foxes have also enjoyed regular trips to local places of interest, including Jodrell Bank, The World of Glass and the U-Boat Story in Birkenhead.

At this week’s session the group enjoyed a party buffet and birthday cake, with everyone singing happy birthday, before paying thanks to the library staff who run the group.

Ray Davies, 81, has been coming since the very first meeting. He said: “When it started none of us thought it would catch on – but a real group spirit has developed and it is now a real highlight of the week.”

John Pike, 73, said: “It is such a welcoming group – the second I came in for the first time I felt so welcome. We have so many varied discussions and trips that we enjoy.”

Gerald White added: “The library staff are so supportive. Everyone loves coming, the group offers company and support and we all keep in touch outside of the group now too. If someone isn’t well we check in with them.”

Phil Atherton, 74, said: “It’s something to look forward to all week. I’ve never been one for groups in the past, so this is a first for me. It is such a laugh and everyone is so welcoming. If anyone is interested, I’d say come along for a brew and give it a try.”

Donna Love, Lead LiveWire Advisor, at Burtonwood Library said: “When we set up the Silver Foxes last year we didn’t realise just how successful it would be.  The men have all become friends and are really supportive of each other. It has given them a sense of purpose – they can get together and share their stories and have a laugh. As one of the Silver Foxes said to me ‘when you retire you miss that male banter you have at work. Men don’t tend to meet and chat so you have helped me get that back in my life.’”

Wendy Molyneux, Strategic Library Manager for LiveWire, said: “There aren’t always the same opportunities for men to come together outside of family and sporting events so we are really pleased that this group has proved so successful at Burtonwood Library, and has had such a positive impact on those who attend. It’s a great example of the role libraries can play to help combat social isolation in our communities.”

For more information on all the activities and events on offer at LiveWire’s libraries, visit www.livewirewarrington.co.uk/libraries

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