A friendship group celebrating its 20th anniversary believes its work is now more important than ever amid cash-strapped times.
The Moray Befriending Voluntary Service (MBVS) was launched with the aim of providing fun catch-up sessions for isolated members of the community – rising from the ashes of an organisation that folded due to it losing its funding.
This week the self-financed Elgin-based group, which relies on funding grants and donations, held a celebratory function to mark two decades since its formation.
Committee members believe that the tough financial times that forced the charity into existence continue to drive it forward today.
Chairwoman Robina McKnockiter said: “It’s probably more important now than when we were established in 1999 because we are getting more younger people coming now.
“Other groups have folded during that time so there’s not really places for people to go elsewhere.
“Sources of funding have diminished over the past few years making every penny that we raise precious.”
At one point the group’s funds dipped as low as £10 but members have rallied and now believe it is in a “healthy” position with up to 30 people attending the monthly sessions at the Moray Resource Centre.
Events run by the group, which has members ranging from 18 to 85 years old, include music concerts, movie nights, quizzes and outings when funds permit.
Couple Alan and Lou Rollings travelled to the group’s 20th anniversary celebrations from Dorset after being encouraged to attend following the death of their son, who required 24-hour care at home for 35 years.
Mrs Rollings said: “When we first lost Andy we thought we couldn’t mix with healthy people anymore.
“Our son needed constant attention so we didn’t want to go out and leave him on his own in case something happened while we were away.
“Catching up with people just gave us that friendship that we had lost.”
Vice-chairwoman Helen Chalmers added: “We want to fun things with people who are otherwise socially isolated, for whatever reason that may be.
“It’s good for some people just to meet up with others outside of a clinical environment.”
MBVS runs sessions on the third Wednesday of the month at the Moray Resource Centre in Elgin from 7pm. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Transport to the group can be arranged on a limited basis.