TOWNSEND — Things were hopping one Friday at the Senior Center.
A group of people, some wearing cowboy boots, moved to the sound of country music. Another group gathered in a smaller room for a women-only meditation session.
A crew of staff and volunteers in the crafts room sorted through mounds of yarn and ribbon and all other manner of stuff.
A couple of people chatted, sitting on the upholstered chairs in front of the fireplace.
“We’re doing well,” said Council on Aging Director Karin Canfield Moore. “We’re definitely busy.”
Almost six months ago, Canfield Moore took over the leadership at the Senior Center after long-time director Chris Clish retired. Since then, she has been trying new things and revamping existing events to encourage more seniors to use the center.
For example, seniors living at the senior housing a half-mile away, had to pay $1.25 each way to take the bus to the center. “That just didn’t seem fair,” she said. Now, a bus picks people up at 9 a.m. and returns later in the day, for 25 cents each way.
Also new are monthly bus trips. Seniors can go on a special shopping or activity trip on the bus. They have been to the Christmas Tree Shop in Nashua and to the Congregational Church for dinner. A trip to the Boston Flower Show is already filled.
A $10,000 grant from the Nashoba Valley Healthcare Fund will help seniors with the cost of participating in programs through the “Body in Motion” scholarship fund. The grant is administered through the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.
Half of the programs cost something for seniors to attend, said Canfield Moore. But since many seniors are on a limited income, that cost can sometimes be too high.
The goal is to increase participation by 10 percent, she said. People will fill out a scholarship form and submit it to a committee for review. Expenses for travel and programming at the center can be covered.
Community outreach is ongoing. Over 1,900 newsletters will be mailed to seniors in April.
Canfield Moore is open to ideas, and flexible over the programs provided. A few changes didn’t fly, so she reversed them.
“That’s how you learn,” she said.
Other plans, depending on budgets, are in the works.
She would like to see a picnic table outside the center. Not a wooden one though, but one that will not splinter and catch on clothing.
She submitted a request for additional hours in the fiscal year 2016 budget. If approved, the center will be open on Thursday nights, just like the library.
The center is located at 16 Dudley Road and can be reached by calling 978-597-1710. The newsletter is available at the center and around town. It can also be found on the Council on Aging page of the town website. www.townsend.ma.us/Pages/TownsendMA_Senior
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