WE have to applaud the news that Dales-Care in Bedale is to reopen, although under another guise and with a different approach.

Without the regular income to pay for staff to offer care, they’re concentrating on encouraging people to come together for good food and socialising, and while many of them will be elderly they also want to reach younger people who can be isolated and lonely.

It is sad that the role has had to change, in the past money was forthcoming for the independent centre from local councils and national groups, like the Alzheimers Society, to pay staff to offer specialist care, but it is changing times and there are always reasons offered.

Hopefully it means the Dales Centre, or whatever it becomes, can reach out and offer the secure, comfortable and welcoming environment it always was - this is needed.

There is a wider issue, with austerity and huge increases in people living longer, there are ongoing concerns that isolated and lonely people should not fall through the net; that this is part of longer term health concerns.

So time, effort and indeed money are needed to make sure help and services are in place. Continuing appeals for volunteers and fundraising can’t be the only answer.

Many groups like Dales-Care have had to scrabble for funds to keep going, applying for grants, which so often can be found to pay for new kitchens or extra buildings but not to pay for vital staff, or meet electricity and gas bills or everyday ongoing costs. Maybe, like the new approach for Dales-Care, a different debate is needed on how to best support the many groups and organisations who keep our communities going.