St James Church in Quedgeley will be setting up ‘Chit Chat’ drop-ins for elderly residents thanks to funding from a new grant scheme, launched by the county council in June this year.

With around 500 over 75s living in Quedgeley and Kingsway, elderly people in the local community will have a new opportunity to socialise, make friends and learn new skills from September. There will be a wide range of activities, including local speakers, gentle exercise, music, as well as arts and crafts.

The group will benefit from £1,820 towards set-up costs for the drop-ins at the church, such as tables, chairs, wheelchairs and access ramps. The funding has been provided by Gloucestershire County Council’s Active Together grant scheme, where each of the 53 electoral divisions in the county has £40,000 to increase sport and physical activity opportunities for local people.

St James Church already has experience of running a successful community group with the popular baby and toddler group ‘Chatterbox’, organised by volunteers and paid for through fund raising and donations. Ongoing running costs of ‘Chit Chat’ will be paid for in the same way and organisers hope in time to be able to offer transport to and from the group.

Organiser Jackie Hall said: “The funding from Gloucestershire County Council is really welcomed. Initially we were expecting to borrow tables and chairs and other equipment on a week by week basis and lugging them back and forth to the church. Having our own equipment makes life a lot easier.”

Father John, Rector and Parish Priest, said 'It is great to see the parish church being used once again for the entire community. We've proved with Chatterbox that the church can make an ideal venue for community groups. I do hope that as many people as possible will use the new facility once it is up and running in September.”

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, county councillor for Quedgeley, said: “I’m delighted to set the Active Together scheme off to a great start and support ‘Chit Chat’. Encouraging our older people to live independent and fulfilling lives is hugely important. The drop-ins are a great example of how the community know what’s needed in its area and how the county council can help make it happen.”

For further information on the Active Together sport and physical activity grant scheme please speak to your local county councillor or visit the county council website at: