Connecting Communities

We want to help individuals connect with their communities by highlighting groups and activities throughout the North West

To help you find community groups and activities in your local area, and meet like-minded people, here are a list of activities and groups in the North West. From social reading groups to meet-ups for retirees, we’ve collected great places to make new friends and memories to last a lifetime.

The North West is home to a diverse range of community groups that provide a variety of activities for both those suffering social isolation, or those who simply want to get more active in their community and try something new. Many of these community initiatives are easily accessed by bus, and we’ve chosen several which you can get to with Arriva.

Whether you’re a great lover of literature and want to pursue your passion for reading with like-minded people; want to access vocational learning resources to bolster an upcoming career move; or simply want to sit down and chat with a friendly face – we’ve included a range of training, activity and community centres to inspire you to explore what’s on offer within your local community.

Read on for our suggested groups and activities in the North West.

The Bluecoat - Liverpool

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Liverpool’s centre for contemporary arts is home to a year-round programme of exhibitions, music, dance, literature, live art and heritage events. A historic building, The Bluecoat’s location in the heart of the city makes it easily accessible for people from across Liverpool.

Bluecoat is a hub for art, and welcomes thousands of visitors every year, engaging with them on everything from art and design to craft, music, literature and heritage. All ages and communities are welcome to attend any of the centre’s programmed events, with many free activities to choose from throughout the year.

In 2008, Bluecoat launched the Blue Room initiative, an inclusive arts programme aimed at adults with learning disabilities. This weekly event gives members the opportunity to develop creative and social skills in an inclusive and welcoming environment, helping to build confidence and promote greater independence for adults with learning disabilities.

Learn more about The Bluecoat by visiting their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Find it on Google Maps: The Bluecoat

Find out more on the website: The Bluecoat

Catch the bus: 75 Halewood to Liverpool

Pagoda Arts - Liverpool

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Looking to learn more about China and its culture? Pagoda Arts is a fascinating all-ages organisation that offers everything from Tai Chi classes to lessons on how to play traditional Chinese instruments - great for those looking to try something new.

Pagoda Arts is a growing community arts centre which aims to bridge the gap between generations in Liverpool’s Chinese-British community. Through a tailored programme of cultural events, classes and exhibitions, the centre aims to connect younger members with their roots, and provide an inclusive environment for older people to meet likeminded individuals who perhaps share their cultural background.

All age groups and demographics are welcome at Pagoda Arts, with cultural activities and classes ranging from music and art to dance and traditional Tai Chi. The centre excels in offering activities for children and young people, whilst there is also a variety of events dedicated to older generations from all walks of life.

Learn more about the work of the Pagoda Arts team on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Find it on Google Maps: Pagoda Arts

Find out more on the website: Pagoda Arts

Catch the bus: 82 Speke to Liverpool

Blackburne House - Liverpool

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Charming and welcoming, Blackburne House seeks to inspire and educate women to further their professions whatever their ambitions. With an extensive list of courses to choose from, as well as a wellness centre and play area, Blackburne House is a celebration of diversity, inclusion and respect in the heart of Liverpool’s central Georgian Quarter.

Hundreds of women access learning, social and enterprise resources through Blackburne House each year, and the centre also works closely with a variety of community projects and businesses to extend its reach across Liverpool and Merseyside. Blackburne facilitates courses from Entry Level to Access and L4, giving women of all ages a pathway into a new career or opportunity within their local community.

Blackburne House offers educational courses in areas such as IT, digital media, healthcare, engineering, construction and self-employment. Courses are available to women aged 16+, and the centre is currently recruiting for educational courses starting in January 2019, with places available in L3 & L4 Teaching, L2 IT User Skills, L1 & L2 Construction Crafts, Health Spa employment, and Counselling.

Find it on Google Maps: Blackburne House

Find out more on the website: Blackburne House

Catch the bus: 75 Halewood to Liverpool

Kindfulness Coffee Club - Liverpool

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Established in 2016, the Kindfulness Coffee Club emerged from Liverpool welfare initiative, Compass Counselling, and has since become a much-loved community hub helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation within the Merseyside region. The centre includes a community café, NU2U shop and wellbeing centre.

The vision behind the Kindfulness Coffee Club has always been clear: to connect the community through kindness and promote acceptance, love and hope to all who come through its doors. Billed as community café, this is a place where people can meet, socialise and join in with regular activities which promote wellbeing and help vulnerable people build self-confidence and enjoy a safe place where everyone can feel welcome.

Everyone is welcome at the Kindfulness Coffee Club, and the friendly team always provide a non-judgemental and fully-confidential listening ear for those who need to talk. The club is particularly helpful for people struggling with mental health issues or those who feel isolated and lonely, with trained counsellors and free activities for people to get the help and support that they need.

Find it on Google Maps: Kindfulness Coffee Club

Find out more on Facebook: Kindfulness Coffee Club

Catch the bus: 47 Crossens to Liverpool | 61 Bootle to Aigburth Vale | 63 Bootle to Fazakerley

The Reader - Liverpool

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Established in Liverpool over a decade ago, The Reader is an initiative which aims to improve wellbeing, reduce social isolation and build communities across the UK through literature. Now a national charity with over 200 Shared Reading groups happening across the country, its unique approach to community, health and wellbeing has helped thousands of people to connect and reflect through the written word.

Every month, The Reader’s 900+ volunteers bring together thousands of readers from across the country, to share in the experience and life-supporting benefits of reading aloud and group discussion. It aims to stamp out social isolation through literature, and people of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to attend and join free reading events in their area.

Whether you want to join a reading group or learn how to lead one in your local community, visit the website to find out how you can get involved.

Find it on Google Maps: The Reader

Find out more on the website: The Reader

Catch the bus: 75 Halewood to Liverpool

Transform Lives Company - Liverpool

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Transform Lives Company is an established social enterprise working in the North West dedicated to transforming the lives of people with or without work. Working with inspiring volunteers, hosts and partners, the enterprise aims to build people’s confidence and ensure they feel valued.

TLC do this through their award-winning GiveGetGo programme, developed with the University of Liverpool. The 10-week programme links people who are out of work with meaningful volunteering placements, such as Speke Hall, Knowsley Safari Park and Liverpool Cathedral. Alongside this is also a training programme to help people overcome negative thinking patterns, stress and anxiety whilst giving them the skills to do practical job searches.

The Positive Lifeology programme is another way in which TLC help to improve the lives of others. The programme helps to bring stability and positive thinking to people’s lives. The main aim is to encourage people to feel better about themselves, understand their own thought patterns and learn to be a little kinder to themselves.

Find it on Google Maps: Transform Lives Company

Find out more on the website: Transform Lives Company

Catch the bus: 86 Garston to Liverpool | 86A Garston to Liverpool | 86D Garston to Liverpool | 82 Speke to Liverpool | 82D Speke to Liverpool 

Mind - St Helens

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St Helens Mind is a charity centre based in Merseyside that aims to promote positive mental health and to assist those experiencing mental distress to regain their full potential. Supporting people aged 18+ and based in the St Helens Borough, Mind offer those experiencing mental health difficulties the chance to once again play an active part in community life.

The charity offers social groups and activities across the Borough ranging from arts and crafts to music and gardening. This allows people who feel lonely and isolated through ill mental health to meet people in a supportive and welcoming environment.

The Befriending service provides someone in need with one-to-one support from a volunteer offering 2-3 hours of their dedicated time a week. The befriender is there to listen and offer advice when someone needs it most. They can also provide home visits, company on shopping trips, information on local groups and support during difficult periods.

Although St Helens Mind is easily accessible by bus, individuals need to be referred by a local GP or professional support worker. Please visit the St Helens Mind website for more information.

Find it on Google Maps: St Helens Mind

Find out more on the website: St Helens Mind

Catch the bus: 35 Gillars Green to St Helens Junction | 17 Widnes to St Helens | 30 Sutton Manor to Chain Lane

Newton Community Centre - St Helens

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Newton Community Centre has been a part of the Newton-le-Willows community since 1987. Run by local volunteers, the centre aims to provide a welcoming and friendly safe haven to the community. The centre runs many activities throughout the year to bring the community together, including sports classes, youth groups, arts and crafts classes, language lessons and after-school clubs.

The centre focuses on beating loneliness and encouraging social interaction through their variety of activities, aimed at all ages from all walks of life. Their informal and friendly groups give members of the community the opportunity to get together in a relaxed environment to learn a new skill or to simply catch up with friends.

Another service the centre provides is the lottery-funded Befriending project, which reaches out in the community to those feeling the most vulnerable. They offer friendship calls and weekly home visits, aiming to make everyone feel a part of their local community.

Find it on Google Maps: Newton Community Centre

Find out more on the website: Newton Community Centre

Catch the bus: 34 St Helens to Leigh | 34A St Helens to Leigh

U3A (The University of the Third Age)

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The U3A (The University of the Third Age) provides activity groups across a range of North West locations. Operated for people of retirement age, U3A groups can help you develop new skills, enhance your knowledge and meet new people. Discover if there’s a U3A group close to you with our helpful table.

Location
Website
Arriva Bus Route
Map
Wirral U3A
Wigan U3A
Warrington U3A
Wallasey U3A
Up Holland and District U3A
Tarporley and District U3A
St Helens U3A
Southport U3A
Skelmersdale U3A
Sale U3A
Oxton Prenton and District U3A
Neston U3A
Middlewich U3A
Meols U3A
Maghull and Lydiate U3A
Macclesfield U3A
Liverpool U3A
Any service to Liverpool city centre
Halewood U3A
Frodsham U3A
Davyhulme U3A
Cestrian U3A
Bolton U3A
Birkdale and Ainsdale U3A
Aughton and Ormskirk U3A
Ashton-in-Markerfield and District U3A
Aintree U3A

Please note – the information listed is for guidance only, and we’d recommend visiting the website of the group you wish to attend for group-specific information, such as rules of attendance and up-to-date location information.

We hope the above has helped you find a regional class, activity centre or support group to help you, and has provided all the information you require.

We’re keen to continue adding to this list of brilliant community groups and arts centres, with more fantastic places throughout the North West. If you’re a member of a great community group in the North West and want us to know about it, please contact us on [email protected].

To find out more about loneliness and social isolation, head back to our main feature page, here.

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