STAFF and volunteers who helped reopen a special centre for elderly and vulnerable people say it is now going from strength to strength.

Richmond MP Rishi Sunak applauded efforts to reopen the Dales Centre in Bedale after calling in to meet staff and clients. The centre was closed for 16 months because of financial problems and reopened at the end of last year, offering lunch and company for local people twice a week.

Mr Sunak said: "This is a great service for the older people of Bedale and the surrounding villages, many of whom may be living on their own and combatting loneliness. The staff and band of volunteers do a great job."

Trustee Charles Ropner said the centre is now run on a sustainable footing with two staff and 15 volunteers. He added: "We are very pleased with how the centre is running and with the support we've had from the local community." Staff say some places are still available on Tuesday and Thursday, call 01677 425806.