A GROUP dedicated to helping elderly people in the Holme and Colne valleys has received a massive cash boost.
Holmfirth-based Friend to Friend wanted to expand, but was finding it a financial squeeze to put those plans into action.
But the group has just been given £143,642 from the Government's Community Fund.
It will now be able to pay for a worker to look at setting up new groups.
Group secretary Shirley Simmonds said: "This is the first step on the ladder to improving the quality of life for a large number of elderly people in south Kirklees."
The money will increase the range of opportunities and offer more activities to members.
Friend to Friend takes people to meals that it arranges in Holmfirth, has a tai chi walking group, organises activities, theatre visits, other outings, newsletters, forums and advice sessions on health, safety and pensions.
Mrs Simmonds said some of the grant will be used to try to identify elderly people who live on their own and are isolated.
If they cannot be encouraged to attend events but are interested in the charity, activities can be taken to their own homes.
Friend To Friend was set up in Holmfirth nine years ago, with a monthly meal.
It is a registered company and charity, but run by volunteers and a paid administrator.
It also runs a Heritage Lottery project called Tales of the Mills, in which members revive textile crafts, try new ones and record their memories.
An exhibition in December will launch a book and CDs and show crafts.
One member, Winifred Turner, said: "For some members meetings are the only time they get out of their homes.
"Our lives have changed so much for the better and for people new to the area it is a good way of getting to know new friends."
Friend to Friend will still need to raise money for running costs and transport members. More volunteers are also needed.
* Phone Friend To Friend on 01484 687773 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* The South Huddersfield Friend to Friend movement started in Holmfirth in 1995
* It has about 200 members, aged between 70 and 100
* There are branches in Holmfirth, Meltham and Denby Dale
* The groups have produced collections of memories entitled Children of the Holme Valley and Tales of the Mills
* They conducted a successful disabled access campaign in Holmfirth
* Main activities include concerts, games, workshops and crafts.