A health centre providing Tea and Chat sessions has proved popular, and now the community want to say thank you.

The sessions, which take place on the second Wednesday afternoon of each month at the Royal Manor Health Care centre in Portland, were the brainchild of Healthcare Assistant Jan Siddons, who personally takes charge of the sessions.

The original aim of these sessions was to get older people in who otherwise may not have seen anybody from one week to the next, to allow them to meet new people, take part in activities, and generally to feel included and have a bit of company for a couple of hours.

Jan, who created the Tea and Chat sessions said: "I've worked here for 10 years, and four years ago our boss asked us if there is anything we can offer as a surgery.

"A lot of the aged over 75 population here can become isolated and low, something we noticed when they visited the surgery each month.

"I noticed that maybe, we can offer them a tea and chat session, and then sign post them onto what's on in Portland.

"Sharon agreed, and I invited patients by letter.

"We started with 5, and we are now 20 strong."

The sessions proved popular, and not just with the residents from Portland.

There is one person that attends from Wyke Regis, where there is nothing similar in place.

The afternoons provide excellent activities, with sing-alongs, quizzes and painting competitions to name a few, just some of the activities that Jan arranges. 

There have also been spokespeople in, from the Portland Island Community Action group which run trips, as well as the Fire Brigade who were able to carry out home safety checks on houses and other groups.

The recent Christmas Tea and Chat was particularly busy, with card making being the main activity, and mince pies provided, with each session having a different theme.

Through these sessions, the aged over 75 population can gain the support and confidence they need, as well as a booklet of what is available in the local area.

Jan said: "Doctors and nurses signpost individuals to the group that they have treated.

"As far as we know we are the only practice to offer it, with other surgeries trying and failing, which is a surprise given how simple it is to provide this service.

"We all support each other as a group."

Shannon Prior, Practice Manager said: "Jan is a star and without her, this project wouldn't have been able to keep going. 

"She is excellent."