Elderly residents encouraged to take part in new Breckland arts project

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A new scheme which aims to older people living alone to get involved in the arts will be launched in the Swaffham area next week.

Officials hope the Silver Social scheme, which will run for the next two and a half years, will also help to improve participants’ wellbeing.

The initiative, led by Breckland Council, is being funded by a £185,000 lottery grant, plus contributions from the district and county councils.

Paul Claussen, the authority’s executive member for place, said: “The Silver Social is for the over 60s to get together with old and new friends to be creative.

“We will be offering something a little different to normal village life, with a range of daytime activities that bring art and culture into the heart of rural Norfolk.”

The programme will begin at the Necton Rural Community Centre next Friday, September 22, where print and textiles specialist Sarah Harley will lead a sewing workshop between 10am and noon.

A similar session is planned for October 6 at the same times, while mono printing sessions are scheduled for September 29 and October 7, also between 10am and noon, with an art exhibition on October 28.

Meanwhile, in Ashill, designer and printer Vicki Johnson will lead a series of drop-in workshops at its community centre starting on September 27 and continuing throughout October.

She will also be taking a cart around the village on October 9 for residents to contribute ideas, stories and objects to be turned into works of art.

The villages are among five around the district where the programme is being launched.

Officials say the areas have been chosen as they have the highest proportions of elderly people living alone outside the district’s main towns.

More information about the scheme is available via www.thesilversocial.com.