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Our History


Silver Cord's journey began in 2010 when Debs Fidler began as part-time youth worker at Hope Community Church, Mottram, Greater Manchester.


By 2013 the new leaders at Hope Community Church recognised Debs love for older people and so changed her role to full-time youth and community worker.  As a result Debs started the Mottram Monday Matinée – a weekly club to connect with older people. This new club included quizzes, sing-a-longs, chair aerobics, annual day trips, and intergenerational dance hall events. It was greeted with great enthusiasm and helped to reconnect those who were feeling lonely and isolated.


The Monday Matinée club went from strength to strength and in 2015 the club won funding to build a retro-cinema set-up into the church hall. This was really strategic as the aim of the cinema club was to  strengthen connections with older men, who are nationally the hardest group to engage with.

All-age films were shown at the Matinée during school holidays as a further way to bring young and old together.

At this time Debs also started the monthly Mobile Matinée, taking the films out on the road to three local care and residential homes. This helped to build relationships with residents as they enjoyed seeing films in their community lounges.


By 2016 Debs knew that she would benefit from furthering her education and started her degree at Cliff College. She also began full-time community work.


In 2017 Silver Cord began with volunteers from Hope Community Church and St Michael's Mottram. Debs started attending weekly Integrated Neighbourhood Services meetings at Hyde Police Station, which enabled her to respond to potential clients.

Silver Cord then began a further church partnership with Carmel Christian Centre in Denton. Encouragingly more volunteers were trained and Denise became the Denton Silver Cord coordinator.

At this point Debs oversaw the Longdendale area of Tameside with volunteers being matched with clients for face-to-face visits. Interestingly it was found that some clients by-passed the befriending service to attend church activity groups, but this seemed appropriate for them.

Church services (Silver Sundays) were also started at a care home in partnership with the Parish Church of Mottram, and Bible sessions began at a local social housing complex using the Pilgrims' Friend Society's resource "Brain and Soul Boosting".


The Silver Cord adventure further flourished in 2018 when a third church partnered in Longdendale and there was a second partnership formed in Denton. Tameside Council awarded funds to Silver Cord so that Debs' role could be supported two days a week.

In this year we were able to provide our first in-person Christmas Day event. This was  held at Hope Community Church in Mottram and was for anyone who would be spending the day alone. The event was an outstanding success with 65 attendees, including volunteers.

Silver Cord also began to explore how to provide intergenerational sessions and were fortunate to work with a local Primary School at a Monday Matinee to enable seniors and the younger generation to engage with each other and begin the process of building relationships.


Another Christmas Day response was run by Hope Community Church, Mottram. Mottram was awarded Age Friendly status by the Mayor of Greater Manchester in recognition of the community work and befriending undertaken by Silver Cord in the locality.


Prior to lockdown Silver Sundays began at another residential home in Mottram. However, with the COVID-19 lockdown all face-to-face support had to be replaced with telephone calls. Interestingly with COVID churches realised their essential role in helping the elderly who were isolated and lonely in their communities. So in 2020 Silver Cord's Church partnerships grew from 5 churches to 13 across Tameside and Glossop. To offer an emergency ‘COVID response’ more volunteers were recruited to meet the growing need.

In this year money was awarded from Jigsaw Housing Foundation to support Silver Cord for three years. This enabled Debs to work three days a week on the development.

During 2020 quizzes were sent out weekly to Matinée guests and Silver Cord clients. We also helped to facilitate garden events at local care and residential homes, until outdoor gatherings were banned in Greater Manchester in July that year.

To help those elderly members of the community who would be spending Christmas Day alone Silver Cord ran a Christmas Day delivery project. Thanks to the stalwart volunteers from the partner churches over 100 dinners and gifts were personally delivered on Christmas Day across Tameside and Glossop.


In 2021 we saw funds awarded from the Council for the development of Silver Cord, and to encourage health and well-being of the elderly. We were also able to deliver Easter gift bags to all clients.

Once lockdown was over Matinée reopened at the church hall in July.

Face-to-face support with Silver Cord began again inline with the tight COVID regulations. As restrictions begin to lift we saw some clients attending groups and services at our partner churches.

The Christmas Day delivery project went really well with gift bags being delivered to 110 residents in Tameside and Glossop. Encouragingly there were 65 requests for the Gideon’s New Testament to be in the gift bag.

As Silver Cord was moving towards becoming a fully fledged charity a board of trustees were recruited.


In 2022 we saw our Denton coordinator, Denise, step back from her coordinator role. The role was replaced by six volunteer coordinators recruited and trained to oversee the different areas.

With the work growing Silver Cord applied for charitable status, and held a vision evening with all potential partner churches and foundational documents developed for the continued growth of the ministry.

At Christmas we were again able to serve 120 people, who would have otherwise have spent the day alone. Each person received a Christmas Dinner and a bag of gifts on Christmas Day, delivered by volunteers from Silver Cord partner churches.