Author Archives: Gill Swash

OPAL to provide Carer Break services through to 2022.

OPAL is delighted to announce that Cheshire West and Chester Council has awarded us a new contract to provide carer breaks through to Autumn 2022.

Further funding on £30,000, also from the Council, will allow us to relaunch our carer services as BreakTime Plus. We will provide an enhanced befriending service as we emerge out of lockdown, comprising our OPAL Reach newsletter, activity packs and our phone befriending service. The new service begins on 1st April 2021.

CW&C LTTA grant awarded to OPAL Services

OPAL Services is pleased to announce that it has received £2500 from the Cheshire West and Chester Council LTTA fund to support OPAL In Touch. OPAL In Touch is an exiting new service that is designed to help older people in rural communities who have no experience, or very limited experience, of using technology. More information will be appearing on our website very soon.

OPAL Matters – December 2020

To read the latest news from OPAL as 2020 draws to a close, download Issue 9 of our OPAL Matters newsletter.

Unprecedented Times – Cheshire West launches a budget consultation in the face of unprecedented economic challenge – OPAL responds.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is asking for views on how the Council can set a balanced budget in these unprecedented times. Since March they have faced the biggest public health emergency in living memory and there is considerable uncertainty about future budgets. It is estimated that the Council faces a financial gap of between £34 million and £43 million over the next four years.

To register your views on the Council’s proposals go to:

OPAL has submitted it’s response which you can view by clicking here.

David Briggs, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, formally hands over Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to OPAL volunteers.

On Wednesday 11th November, David Briggs, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, formally handed over to OPAL volunteers the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The virtual event took place prior to OPAL’s Annual General Meeting and
attended by over 60 guests.

Jane Colville, Chair of Trustees, received the award on behalf of all OPAL’s volunteers. “We are delighted to have been recognised by the Queen for the work we undertake for older people and carers in rural communities. Although we received notification of the award in March, COVID-19 has meant we need to adjust the ‘usual’ presentation of the award. It was amazing to see so many faces on the Zoom session”.

David Briggs commended our volunteers saying “You are truly stars. OPAL is a special charity and you are spreaders
of happiness. This is the highest award a group of volunteers can be given—the equivalent of an MBE”.

Get Online Week 19th – 25th October

OPAL has teamed up with Cheshire West and Chester Council Libraries and Age-friendly Digital Inclusion group members to stage Get Online Week from 19th to 25th October.  Activities include ‘Get Online and Try Something New’ on the 21 October as well as encouragement and support to get online including one-to-one support by friendly volunteers. OPAL GoOnLine volunteers will be available throughout the day on 20th and 21st October to help you get connected to the activities and help answer any queries.

To book or attend an event go to or to the Libraries Facebook page at @cwaclibrary

view the flyer here

OPAL AGM 2020 announcement

In 2020 the OPAL Services Annual General Meeting will take place on November 11th at 5pm.

Due to the current situation, the AGM this year will be a virtual event and will take place on Zoom.

Members, volunteers and the general public are all warmly invited to join us.

For further information and to register your interest to attend please email:

Community Response Fund Award September 2020.

OPAL is pleased to announce it has been awarded £6,000 by Cheshire West and Chester from it’s Community Response Fund.

This funding will allow us to bring creativity and social contact into the lives of our elderly members who continue to be  vulnerable to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

While our OPAL Clubs continue to be closed because of the ongoing pandemic we will be providing 3 activity packs as a result of this generous support. We have already tried out our ideas on a smaller scale with great results and we look forward to providing a further 3 activity packs between October and the end of the year.

OPAL Newsletter – OPAL Matters – September 2020

To read all the latest OPAL news, including our response to the coronavirus pandemic, click on the link and download our latest newsletter.

OPAL receives Marjory Boddy Charitable Trust award.

OPAL Services would like to thank the Marjory Boddy Charitable Trust and CWVA for recognising the work we are doing amid the Covid-19 pandemic in reducing social isolation and loneliness in older people in the rural communities of west Cheshire.

The Marjory Boddy Charitable Trust helps registered charities in Chester, West Cheshire or immediate surroundings areas, who can demonstrate that their activities or services deliver a direct benefit or meet the specific needs of groups or individuals within those local communities, particularly those who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or overlooked.

The grant will be hugely beneficial in helping us to keep our OPAL Reach newsletter reaching out as our options for delivering face-to-face activities for our older members once again diminish. Thank you to everyone at Marjory Boddy Charitable Trust. Your support is more valuable now than ever. Thank you too to CWVA @Chestervol for nominating us!