A SURPRISE party was thrown for two members of the Vibrant Communities team in Cumnock.

Thinking they were on a routine visit to the Things Tae Dae group at Cumnock Juniors Social Club they were met with people wearing party hats and a birthday cake ready to be cut.

Louise Allan and Barbara McNaughton were delighted with the unexpected welcome which had been arranged to celebrate Vibrant Communities’ fifth birthday.

Joining Maureen Preston and Things Tae Dae were the Barshare Parent and Toddler Group who were also having their regular session in another part of the club.

Everyone gathered outside, complete with party poppers, to sing Happy Birthday in appreciation of the work that Vibrant Communities carry out.

The feeling was mutual and Barbara was keen to praise the support given to Things Tae Dae members from Maureen and her colleagues.

Barbara said: “I am very impressed with Things Tae Dae. You can see the confidence that a lot of the group have. If you compare what they have gone through to where they are now it is tremendous and tugs on the heart strings, to be honest.

“Even just the social aspect of them getting out and meeting their pals, instead of sitting looking at four walls. It is good for me personally as I sit in an office and deal with things without realising the impact that Vibrant Communities has on other people.

“Seeing this group makes me realise that I am helping make a difference — but the people here are also making a difference themselves.”

Five years have flown past and much has been achieved while there are more challenges on the horizon, Barbara realises.

She said: “We are very lucky that we have Katie Kelly, who instigated Vibrant Communities in 2013 — her vision was that as public servants, we are here to serve. Katie is now head of housing and community services and we have her driving us forward. With staff and financial restrictions, Vibrant Communities is needed more than ever to work with the various groups and organisations.”

She added: “Help and support is given to groups who want to get things done — from cleaning up parks to improving buildings. When an area has no litter or dog fouling and is clean and green, it lifts your spirits and makes it a place people are proud to live. Residents can help us by volunteering.”