Tackling isolation is the aim of a new community group for older people living in Pelton and the surrounding area.

The Hawthorn Project & Eat With Me initiative is a drop in social group to support elderly members of the community, their families, carers and friends.

It aims to tackle social isolation and improve the wellbeing of elderly residents through regular gatherings and activities.

The project is funded by Durham County Council through the Older People’s Social Isolation Fund, part of Chester-le-Street and District Area Action Partnership.

Meetings are being held at Pelton Community Centre, on Front Street, with attendees from nearby Pelton Grange Care Home, alongside others from the area.

The home’s activities coordinator took resident Brenda Clifford to the first session, where she painted her own mug and chatted to other visitors.

Brenda said: “I’ve never painted anything like a mug. It has pride of place in my bedroom now.

“I hope more people get involved with the project.”

Brenda has since encouraged several of her fellow residents to go to the sessions with her, including Dennis Fullerton, Jean Noddles and Barry Wyatt.

Lyndsey Sale-Thorn, activities coordinator at Pelton Grange Care Home, said: “The sessions have been a great success, with lots of attendees from Pelton and the wider area.

“It’s a great opportunity for our residents to mix with likeminded people and do activities in a different environment.  

“I’m pleased the community centre is putting on more events and we’re really glad to be able to support them.”

Hyleen Wood, from Pelton Community Centre, said: “It’s lovely to have residents from Pelton Grange coming along to the sessions.

“We see different residents coming along each time. They’re really enjoying the sessions.