Gloria Nicholas is both relieved and extremely happy that Membertou First Nation has opened a spacious new centre for seniors in the community to call their own.

As the coordinator of the Membertou 55 Plus Society, she had been frustrated with the previous facility-which was woefully inadequate.  

"We only had one room, plus a kitchen which was very small," she said. "We were crowded."

But when chief and council voted to renovate the old daycare behind the Membertou band office, it opened the door to a major improvement, said Nicholas.

"We think it's an ideal place because there's no stairs involved."

Seniors numbers expected to grow

She expects the number of patrons will grow significantly now that they can look forward to playing pool, and learning computer skills since a number of computers have been installed in the new centre.  

Card games are held regularly and Nicholas has already noticed an increase in the number of seniors coming to the facility.

The treasurer of the Membertou 55 Plus Society, Joan Denny, is also excited about the possibilities.

"We plan to apply for funding that will help in bringing in programs to our elders that they don't have access to now," she said.  

In the meantime there are plans to hold various workshops on such things as senior safety issues and meal preparation.

Denny said a recent workshop with Cape Breton Regional Police on telephone scams was well received by club members.

'It enhances them'

Fundraising events are planned to get additional furniture for the centre and pay for trips for seniors, she said.

Gloria Nicholas is planning to bring back a gardening program for the patrons. She sports a big smile as she considers what the centre means for seniors.

"They are really proud of this building, and now they have somewhere nice to go, to be with people their own age," said Nicholas.

"They run the programs themselves. It enhances them, instead of just sitting home, getting old."

With files from Wendy Martin