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The bingo club that became a lot more than just bingo

The bingo club that became a lot more than just bingo

A Colne woman who credits bingo with giving her a purpose in life after caring for her terminally ill mother now uses her hobby to help other people.

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After the loss of her mum, Susan Calleja found it hard to leave the house and socialise. That’s when a friend recommended she should go to the bingo at Byron Road Community Centre in Colne and everything changed.

She said: “Bingo saved my life. After mum died I felt really lonely but bingo gave me a reason to leave the house again and gave me something to look forward to. I’ve developed a close group of friends and now we want to help other people.”

After initially going to the bingo as a participant, Susan took over managing the club two years ago when the manager fell ill. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and has seen membership more than double.

The group started with bingo and has grown into a close community of friends that have their own Christmas party and regular social outings that all members can attend. This includes afternoon tea parties and meals out together.

Following the success of the club on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 - 3pm, Susan has introduced another session on Thursdays from 6.30 – 8.30pm.

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Susan said: “We hope the evening session will boost our membership even further by attracting people who work through the day. We welcome any new members, young and old, and hope to see some new faces at this evening slot.”

Bingo has many benefits for people of all ages. For those that are older, the fast paced nature of bingo helps with short-term memory as you have to remember and recall numbers to fill out the card. Most importantly it is an amazing way to stop older people, who may no longer have families, from feeling isolated. Members are able to get out of the house and develop lasting friendships that are important for their mental health and wellbeing – and Susan found this is exactly what she needed.

But it’s not just for older people! Younger people are beginning to become more interested in getting involved too. It is a great stress reliever where you can forget the day-to-day worries and just focus on socialising and the bingo numbers. Many have found their mental health and wellbeing had improved after taking part in group activities. Plus it gives you something to look forward to during the working week when the weekend feels too far away.

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In addition to promoting the health and wellbeing benefits of bingo to other people, the bingo group also raises funds for local charities. They have donated to local charities such as Pendle Dogs in Need, the fire services in the local area, North West Air Ambulance and Pendleside Hospice. Overall the club has managed to raise £700 to go towards these different charities as they want to help as many as possible. Currently, they are raising money for Derian House which is a local charity that supports children with cancer.

Susan added: “We all know that this bingo group has helped us and we want to use that to pay it forward and help others.”

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