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LifeTime is life-changing: WHA’s over-50s social hub celebrates its first decade

We are celebrating the tenth anniversary of our over-50s social hub this International Day of Older Persons (Oct 1). LifeTime, based at the Gateway in Warrington town centre, has been supporting older people to live their best life over the last decade and to mark the milestone.

Bernard Gillooly, who attends LifeTime, has thanked the over-50s social hub for “keeping him alive”. The 72-year-old, who is featured in a new video which celebrates the impact of its work, has been going to LifeTime for the last nine years.

He said: “It’s my go-to place. After my dad died a few years ago, I didn’t go out for the best part of 18 months. When I finally had to leave the house for an errand, I decided to pop into LifeTime for a cup of tea on the way back and was greeted by old friends! I slowly got going and it got me out of myself.”

Over the years he has enjoyed the writing group, karaoke club, games morning and a shared reading group among others. He also volunteers on reception.

“To anyone who hasn’t been to LifeTime: you don’t know what you are missing! Come in and have a cup of coffee – it’s only a quid. Take a timetable, see what’s on. We have day trips, evening trips, all sorts! If you are not here, you are missing out,” he added.

LifeTime runs weekly activities at its hub and throughout the borough.

Gerry Kiddle, WHA’s director of social value, with overall responsibility for LifeTime, said: “WHA, as a housing association, has been well ahead of its time. Through LifeTime, we have been social prescribing before the concept even existed!

“People are beginning to understand the value of helping people improve their health, wellbeing and social life, through community organisations.

“Loneliness is now recognised as major health concern, with AgeUK citing that 1.4 million older people in the UK are often suffering from it. Coupled with the risks of inactivity as you get older, it might seem like there wouldn’t be much to celebrate later in life. But that definitely hasn’t been the case in Warringon over the last ten years!”

Andrea Rees, LifeTime officer, added: “People tell us it has changed their lives, people going on holiday together, going out for lunches!

“We run over 2,000 activities per year for 1,400 participants. With around 50 activities a week, from art, photography, knitting, dancing, ukulele, Zumba, yoga, pilates, IT drop-ins, dementia group, choir, film club – there is always something for someone. Sometimes, it is just a cup of tea and a good laugh!”

The thriving centre has 130 volunteers – many over 50 and LifeTime members themselves – giving more than 6,000 volunteer hours each year.

Dorothy Pritchard, 89, from Bruche, started volunteering in the first few weeks. She officially volunteers once or twice a week but admits she visits far more frequently.

“I popped in with a friend at the beginning to see how we could help. It’s been fascinating to see how it’s developed over the years. We are getting back to normal numbers after everything closed for covid – not coming here was very difficult.

“My husband died 12 months ago. The support and loving encouragement that you get from other people at LifeTime, a lot of who have been through the same situations, has been wonderful.

“It takes a lot of courage for some people to come through the door on their own but LifeTime best place to meet people, it is amazing how friendly the groups are.

“Mostly I am taking care of everybody with cups of tea and toast, but I’ve just started to start coming to the Pilates group for my own benefit and joined the crochet group a few weeks ago.”

Her son Jonathan also attends LifeTime now, enjoying the ukulele class on Mondays. “He wanted to see what I was doing, when I was out having fun all the time!”


Want to enjoy life? Join LifeTime! You do not have to be a WHA resident to join, everyone over 50 in Warrington is welcome.


Either pop into the Gateway on Sankey Street in the town centre, find out more, call 01925 246824 or email:

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