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Stitch in Time

Stitch in Time was a weekly sewing session for the over 50s held at The Sewing Rooms CIC, with additional sessions held at Brookside Residential Home. Sewing Room staff with support from Sewing Room volunteers delivered over 40 Stitch in Time sessions to over 400 attendees. These sessions shared sewing skills as well as providing a supportive environment to share experiences and improve mental wellbeing.

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Brenda Den

My name is Brenda Den. I'm 67 years of age. I moved to Skelmersdale in 1970 with my mum and dad and siblings. So there was seven children, five boys and two girls. And when we first moved to Skelmersdale, we thought we'd won.... It wasn't the lottery then, it was the pools, because we came from a 3 or 2 down in Bootle to a five bedroom detached house on Enstone. And we thought, Oh my God, aren't we posh? I was 15.


The thing is that you came from knowing everybody being round, like my nana and my aunties and uncles and everybody and cousins. And then you come to Skem and you felt as if you were in the middle of nowhere as well. And the bus, there was only the one bus and that was every hour. That was hard. It must have been harder for me mum for a big move like that, because it was my dad's idea, because he kept saying, If we stay in Bootle, we'll all be dead, so we've got to go and get some fresh air!

And so it was my dad's idea. But he did promise her, that when we came up to Skelmersdale that he'd get a phone in. So that was another thing. This phone, you know, was absolutely brilliant. We kept thinking, oh, somebody ring us, you know, so that that was good. And yeah, it was probably harder for me Mum. By then, I was in the third year of my school in Bootle and moved to Saint Richard's which was the Catholic one.

They only had year one and two there. So I went to Glenburn for the last 12 months of my schooling really, not that I was there a lot. Well, my first job in Skem... It was in Ormskirk it was in Freeman, Hardy and Willis in the shoe shop in Ormskirk and I was there for a bit. And then I got a job as a dentle nurse in Doctor Lamb, Miller and Marsden that was on Birkrig in Digmoor and did that for a while, and then I left there.

I didn't really want to leave there because I loved that job. But then me mum and dad had a thing about going into an office because you have to go into an office. And then a job came up in Hertward Hosiery as a receptionist. So I went there at Hertward Hoisery and that's where I met my first husband, Terry. And then family happened, and then I had Michelle and Stephen. And they went to school in Skelmersdale.

They went to Saint Matthew's and then they went to Our Ladies... Saint Thomas's then, and then also in between that, I started work in 1979 and went back to work at the Co-op Bank. That's when the Co-op Bank first came to Skelmersdale and we trained in Manchester. And then when it opened in November, we came and then I stayed there.

When the Concourse was first built, the Concourse was amazing. It was absolutely wonderful. There's nothing you couldn't have bought from the Concourse, because you had Burtons and you had Dorothy Perkins, and then you had the Co-op and then Presto's was the supermarket and you had Ethel Austins, Smith's, Boots, and the market was downstairs. And it was great. It was absolutely wonderful.

But as time has gone on, the worst thing they did to the Concourse was when they built on the glass front and then they got rid of the market from downstairs and they put it right at the top and that didn't work. And then all of a sudden the penny dropped to them and they said, Oh, no, that's not working. And then they brought it down. But then we added the picture house as well, and we had the sports centre, I mean the sports centre, they used to have roller skating on a Saturday in the sports centre.

You know, there was all sorts for you to do. I mean when like the likes of my mum and dad moved up here and a lot of people moved to Skelmersdale, like all towns you're promised the world... Because the hospital and the railway station, when you see the original plans, they were on the Stanley Estate and that's where the hospital should have been and the train station. But it's like everywhere, it's down to whoever's in power or whoever's got money.

And unfortunately, sometimes some areas we get left behind. But it's a lot when you travel. Even all over the country, you see a lot of high streets and that have fallen by the wayside. But I do feel, though, that the greenery and everything else, what they're trying to do, it's getting better. You know, the way they've done the paths and the way they've done the Tawd Vale where they've done the paths all properly and they've made it nice now, which is good. And they do keep trying. And then it's up to us as well to make sure we go and use that picturehouse, which is absolutely lovely. So it's up to the people.

The councils can only do so much, can't they? They can only put these things in it for us to use and if we don't use it then it goes by the wayside doesn't it? And it's lovely now that there's the big Lidl and you know, B&Ms and they are trying, but as I say, it's always up to us as well to make sure that we use the facilities and we keep it nice as well because it is our home.


What's unique in Skem is that when you think about it, where the Concourse is built.... I'm not talking about all these new houses that are sort of in the Whalleys now. All the estates around it are all only 20 minutes walk to the Concourse because that's your main aim and you can actually walk everywhere in Skem. The buses are a bit hit and miss, but it's like everywhere with the buses and everything. But you can walk everywhere. And I always feel safe to walk, to be honest with you. I've never felt unsafe in Skem at all. And so I think that's unique.


And then we've got our roundabouts. We got to mention our roundabouts, but then Milton Keynes as well. So it's not just Skelmersdale!


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