COOKERY sessions could soon be on the menu as Ellesmere's community hub, Our Space cautiously starts to expand its activities.

With Covid restrictions eased, managers want to encourage more people to use the facilities including a kitchen designed for mass catering.

At the height of the pandemic, the building was closed for months, but following its reopening, newly-appointed manager Rachel Davies and her assistant, Mike Grierson are developing new ideas to utilise the centre to its full potential.

Shropshire-based social care charity Bethphage became the care providers at Our Space after moving into the building four years ago when Ellesmere library was relocated from premises nearby.

"By building and improving on what we have to offer, I'm hoping more people will make use of our services," said Rachel, who has worked in children's residential services, and more recently spent five years managing a residential service for adults with learning disabilities in Whitchurch.

"We recognise the dangers faced by older and vulnerable member of the community living in isolation and here we have a a safe, secure environment where they can make new and meaningful friendships, enjoy a full-range of social activities and receive high-quality care and support."

Rachel's colleague, Mike, who has a background in mental health care, added: "Our activities range from games and crafts to cinema and theatre outings and we've recently had a narrow-boat trip on the Llangollen canal."

Also with daily sessions, the opportunities group currently offers tailored support for six adults with learning difficulties, providing them with activities such as cooking, exercise, arts, crafts music, gardening and regular outings.

"It's all aimed at ensuring personal development, a better quality of life and encouraging independence" said Mike.

Both groups have spaces for newcomers and there are plans to expand the hub's activities, including reopening a Memory Cafe where people with dementia can socialise while receiving advice and support.

Bethphage has recently enlisted the help of a digital outreach worker to help Our Space users produce a film about its activities.

"It's all about tapping into people's memories developing inter-action between everyone and sharing experiences," said Rachel.

She also aims to bring the building's large, fully-equipped kitchen back into full use for community cookery workshops.

She added: "Many years ago it was used as a base for the Meals on Wheels Service and we think it's got great potential for people to come in and learn about all types and styles of cooking – including healthy food sessions for children during school holidays.

"This is a lovely, old building, it belongs to the community, and there are great opportunities for local people to come together to make much more use of it."