Dalbeattie and District Day Centre senior citizens are celebrating after meeting up socially for the first time in 15 months.

The popular facility reopened on Monday after being closed by Covid restrictions since March last year.

Members have all been fully vaccinated but numbers attending are still lower than expected as infection fears linger.

But day centre chairman Lorraine Light is sure that once confidence returns any reticence about attending will melt away.

“It’s getting them to come out of their houses again after so long,” Linda told the News on Tuesday.

“We should have opened on May 17 but nobody wanted to come out because they felt it was too soon.

“So we made a decision that we would go for mid-June instead.

“We know our numbers are low at present but we hope they will build up as people become more confident.

Dalbeattie and District Day Centre members enjoyed their lunch on Tuesday
Dalbeattie and District Day Centre members enjoyed their lunch on Tuesday

“We are still running a meals on wheels service so people who don’t yet want to come get a hot meal at lunch time.”

Linda added: “We have one lady, Chrissie Ashton, who told us this was the first time she had been over the door since March last year.

“She was very wary about coming out today but she is really enjoying it.

“It is absolutely fantastic to see them again.

“We have really missed having that social interaction with everybody else in the building.”

Chrissie, 86, who has been in Dalbeattie for nine years after moving to the town from Auchencairn, said: “This is my first time out of the house for 15 months. It’s just marvellous.

“I was a wee bit scared to be out but this is tremendous – the staff are great and the food is beautiful.

“It’s good to see them all again. Everybody is so happy.”

Arrangements are in place at the centre to ensure two-metre physical distancing – which even with the additional space requirements still allows for an attendance of 14 people.

Linda said: “Everyone can still manage to talk to one another.

“The minute social distancing rules are removed we can get back to normal meetings.

“We still have staff working in two teams so that if somebody tests positive and those team members have to self-isolate the other team can take over.”

She added: “It’s just great to have them back and hear the chatter again.”