The much-loved Critchley Community Hub and Garden Cafe has re-opened, welcoming back regular customers, friends and volunteers after its temporary closure in line with government restrictions.
Based in Swinton, the popular social centre run by Age UK Salford offers a cafe, gardens and a shop selling pre-loved clothing and bric-a-brac.
The centre encourages healthy-living group activities and volunteer opportunities for those aged 55 and over.
The community spirit has been kept alive despite closures, with some of the regular face-to-face social groups meeting online, embracing new technology and the determination to keep in touch.
The Critchley-based creative writing group has been busy and published a number of books, including Boomers to Zoomers.
The Swinton and Irwell Valley History Group also moved over to Zoom.
Colin and Sue Goode have been keeping the gardens in good shape, mowing the lawn, weeding, cultivating the plants in the greenhouse and making new planters.
They have even been busy making bug hotels!
They said: “The place has been a godsend to us. We don’t know what we would have done without it.
“We love helping and Critchley is an inviting place for people to visit. Now the centre is open, we are delighted to see it vibrant and busy again.”
Ida Bede, Age UK Salford Volunteer, said: “Critchley is special to those who use the facilities and the volunteers who make it possible for groups and singles to enjoy all on offer.
“We have a wonderful Chef Tony who, at the moment, is giving 110% every day to keep things running smoothly. It has not been easy during the pandemic for most people and ‘meeting places’ are welcomed back with open arms by nearly all.”
The gardening group are back pottering in the garden, greenhouse and shed. Long-time volunteer Dave Fell is even crafting hanging baskets ready to sell at the shop.
The new paved seating area in the front garden is proving popular and the additional seating will attract locals who didn’t realise there was a garden cafe on their doorstep.
If you would like to enjoy a home-cooked meal, hot drinks in pleasant surroundings with good company, Critchley Community Hub is open daily 9 am – 3 pm and can be found at 75 Chorley Road, Swinton, M27 4AF.
The cafe is currently accepting donations of pre-loved spring/summer clothing and shoes, bric-a-brac and unwanted gifts which are suitable for resale.