A TEENAGER is hoping to open a new meeting place for lonely people within days after being ‘overwhelmed’ with support for the idea.

Chloe Prior, 18, resolved to do something for the thousands of lonely and vulnerable people in Oxfordshire at the start of the new year after coming across an older woman alone on a bench late at night.

She began plans to create a ‘hub’ where people could congregate and enjoy a chat and activities and just two weeks later is making the final preparations to open on Monday.

Ms Prior, who works in the Didcot charity shop Changing Lives, has been given a space by the food charity SOFEA in its Trident Business Park building.

Volunteers plan to initially open up the new space on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am until 3pm for anyone to drop in and take part in activities.

Several people have got in touch with Ms Prior offering to run sessions including yoga, woodwork, arts and crafts and one-to-one support classes.

The big opening on Monday will be marked with cake and lots of Changing Lives customers coming down to show their support.

Ms Prior, who lives in East Hendred, said: “Since I first suggested the idea, we have had all sorts of people wanting to get involved.

“The amount of support we have received has been amazing.

“It has all come together so quickly.

“We don’t really have anything like this in Didcot so hopefully it will give the community the support it needs.

“We are all so thankful to SOFEA and everyone who has helped us so far.”

Ms Prior says that she still has no idea how many people will turn up for the first session but hopes people of different age ranges and background will come along.

If the initiative is successful, volunteers will then open the new space every day.

She added: “I hope it will make a real difference.

“It’s a chance to meet new people and make new friends and give people something to do.”

The teenager discovered a woman with dementia alone and asleep on a bench late at night.

The elderly woman, who has now been taken into a care home, was seen on other nights walking head on into traffic.

Ms Prior felt there was no service available where she could send the woman to get support and so decided to set something up herself.

She said::“It was very worrying and had a big impact on me and is a major reason why I now want to set up the meeting place.

“Even if we are not able to help people directly we can be a place where they come and get signposted to the support they need.”

To support the project email stepbystep1f@yahoo.com