A FRIENDSHIP club for elderly people needs to find up to £6,000 a year to survive after grants were reduced.

The West Hunts Friendship Group, which meets every Monday in Great Staughton, saw its grant from Cambridgeshire County Council halved to £5,820 two years ago, leaving the club with an annual shortfall of between £5,000 and £6,000.

The group has seen membership fees double to £10 a session, with further increase planned to keep up with inflation, but treasurer Pauline Lidderdale said she cannot raise the fees any higher.

"We cannot keep on increasing the fees as it is unfair on our members. The group acts as a focal point in the week for them as it gives them the opportunity to get out, play games, socialise and have lunch with friends," Mrs Lidderdale told The Hunts Post.

"It's an important group for them as for some it is the only time in the week when they leave their homes. It also offers a break for carers, reduces isolation for members and increases their wellbeing."

The group's main expenditure is paying for the county council's minibus to pick up members and drop them at the village hall, wages for the two paid staff, rent and food.

Mrs Lidderdale added: "Our funding from the county council was cut as we had built up reserves, but they are nearly gone helping to pay for us to survive for two years. We have had some support so far from the parish church and the Lion's Group who donated £1,500 between them, but if we are not able to get the funding then we will have to close."

The group is open to elderly people who live within six miles of Great Staughton and caters for up to 24 members a week - half coming from St Neots.

INFORMATION: For more details or to donate to the club, call Pauline Lidderdale on 01480 860222.