After being run from founder Bev Sykes’ home for its first six years, Just Good Friends is now based within the Palace Rooms in St Annes town centre.
A Fylde Council grant, along a donation from locally-based Beaverbrooks The Jeweller, has helped fund the conversion and equipping of a former storage area at The Palace into an office for four people with an adjoining meeting area for up to eight.
But much of the work has been done voluntarily by members of the Freemasons, who own the Palace, in Garden Street and have hosted weekly meetings of Just Good Friends for some years now, since The Palace, a former cinema and theatre in Garden Street, was converted into a community hub.
The new offices were officially opened by Fylde mayor Coun John Singleton and Bev said: “We are delighted to have an admin base of our own.
“Just Good Friends has grown so big now that running the organisation from my kitchen couldn’t go on and we are so grateful to everyone who has helped make this possible.”
Founded in St Annes in 2012 with just a handful of members, Just Good Friends now has more than 300, with regular meetings and social events held at a variety of venues in south Fylde as well as Fleetwood.
Earlier this year, a link-up with the NHS brought the addition of three welfare officers to its ranks, working with local doctors’ practices to ensure patients’ companionship needs are met - and Bev has ambitions for the group to grow further.
John Burgess, chairman of the Friends of St Annes Palace, said: “We are delighted to host Just Good Friends and the new office base looks great.”