VOLUNTEERS at a senior drop-in centre have officially celebrated its fresh makeover, as it marks its 21st anniversary.

Staff and volunteers at the Holton Road-based Age Concern Senior Health Shop were joined by local councillors and representatives from the Rotary Club of Barry to toast the new look.

The centre, aimed at the 50-plus age category, had been in need of refurbishment following many years of extensive use.

Staff and volunteers provide a healthy eating snack bar and a friendly environment where older people can access a variety of information and activities. The Rotary Club of Barry stepped in to ensure visitors dine in style by providing funding for new tables.

And Age Concern also thanked John Hexter at Supacleen for his help in organising and managing the refurbishment work, which was made possible thanks to a grant from the Vale Council Voluntary Action Scheme. Council leader, Cllr Neil Moore said: "This is such a special place, where people can come and have a chat. The difference is remarkable."

Director of Age Concern Cardiff and the Vale, Jeff Hawkins said the charity had been innovative, leading the way in aiming for the 50-plus clientele.

"I didn't think 21 years ago I'd be here celebrating this success," he said.

Nona Hexter, Ageing Well co-ordinator for Age Concern Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, thanked the staff and volunteers for all their hard work.

"It all adds up to a very successful project," she said. "Our clients come in because they want a cup of tea and some because life is hard and a friend is what they need."

Volunteer of 18 years, Marlene Jones said her volunteering had happened 'by accident' following her retirement from a Barry Island residential home, and husband Gary, 79, had also been volunteering for Age Concern for 14 years.

Marlene, 78, said: "It was just something to do, but it was the best thing that could have happened. You meet people and make lots of friends"