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Local business can spread good cheer

There is an opportunity to give seasonal cheer to the isolated during the cost of living crisis.
Congleton’s Old Saw Mill, the community benefit society in Congleton, is inviting businesses to sponsor its work with isolated people and those in need, throughout the Christmas season and what promises to be a difficult winter for many.

Businesses can opt for one of a number of sponsorship packages, with names inspired by the Old Saw Mill’s famous apple juice: Golden Delicious, Cox’s Orange Pippin and Russet.

Each includes some rights to use the meeting room facilities at the Old Saw Mill, to have the business’s logo on Old Saw Mill promotions, and discounts in the café and on Old Saw Mill apple juice and cider.

Peter Aston, founder and volunteer director of the Old Saw Mill, said: “Our purpose is to work for the benefit of the community of Congleton. We are a voluntary organisation that challenges social isolation, supports and enhances community cohesion and works to create a better, fairer and more sustainable town.

“This has never been more important than now, with the cost of living crisis impacting many of our neighbours’ lives. We invite local companies to join us on our mission, in return for recognition, promotion and the use of our facilities.”

The Old Saw Mill’s meeting rooms host several groups such as a men’s mental health group, women’s health and wellbeing support group, the Repair Café, Ukrainian support, Cheshire Kids Clothes Swap Shop, the u3a, antenatal classes, Knit and Natter, and other support and craft groups.

In addition, the Old Saw Mill runs a luncheon club to deliver hot meals each week to people who are isolated or live alone.

On Christmas Day, people who might otherwise be alone are invited to the Old Saw Mill for Christmas dinner, and the volunteers give their own Christmas Day to serve it.

The Old Saw Mill Café employs a professional cook and a team of volunteers. In addition to serving snacks and meals, the team produces and sells apple juice and cider from fruit donated by the community from trees in gardens and public spaces. This sustainable and popular product earns revenue which goes to support the Old Saw Mill’s community projects.

Mr Aston added: “We encourage people with educational needs and disabilities to join the team. We have been a pathway to paid work for some.

“One volunteer told us that working here was a lifeline for them when they were going through a bad patch. That’s what we are here for; from supporting an individual to reaching out to people in the wider community, The Old Saw Mill is for everyone.”

The Old Saw Mill has been recognised as a Warm Space for the winter of 2022-23. People struggling with the cost of heating their homes, or those who simply want friendship and a chat, can spend time there, play boardgames or join in craft activities.

For more information, call Mr Aston on 07971 280 047.

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