HUNDREDS of people walk through the doors of the Golden Friendships Community Halls each week.

Everyone is welcome - no matter who they are. The Clydebank-based charity caters for anybody; whether that is youngsters, those with additional support needs (ASN), those with disabilities, older people, and those who are experiencing loneliness.

Throughout the year of 2019, the group have come on leaps and bounds, including celebrating a major special occasion - buying their own premises.

Since the group was set up in January 2017 by founder Jim McLaren, it was run in what is now the former 543 Club, Dalmuir, and currently at the Golden Friendships Community Halls.

At the end of January 2019, Jim was presented with the idea of buying the building - but it had an £80,000 price tag along with a five month deadline to get the cash.

Jim said: “I take life as it comes, so I thought ‘lets have a go’.”

Read more: Golden Friendships buys 543 Club as permanent base

By the end of June, a massive £84,000 was raised and an official opening day was held on July 1 to celebrate the club’s new home.

Jim said this was his most memorable moment of 2019 and made him very proud.

He added: “To me, the club belongs to the community.

“The whole community rallied round. People handed in £10 donations and we had three separate cheques for £10,000. Ex-Bankies living all over the world sent money and all of our members pitched in.”

Despite a lot of work done inside and outside to make the venue their own, there is still more to be carried out.

Read more: Golden Friendships set to launch 'Grab a Granny' campaign

Jim said that he is planning on naming two of the halls - the new theatre room and the main hall that is used for entertainment and karaoke.

The theatre will soon be the “McArdle Suite”, after Laura McArdle - the first ever person to walk through the doors when Jim set the club up.

The other will be the “Sweeney Suite” after Jim’s mum who was there on the first day, and has been there since, to help run the club.

Despite only a few people turning up on the opening day, the club is now no stranger to anyone in Clydebank and has more than 250 members and another 150 who attend their “Grab a Granny” events which aim to tackle loneliness.

More than 10 different sessions and activity clubs are run throughout the week which cater for all ages and all types of people.

This year also saw the first Golden Friendships Kids events which provided free entertainment and a packed lunch for youngsters during school holidays in summer, the October week and the Christmas holidays.

But a busy schedule means Jim has a lot on his hands.

Read more: Kids have a blast at Golden Friendships October week club

He told the Post: “I’m never out of here, I’m in seven days a week. It’s hard to let go, it’s like an obsession. But I’ve never been as happy in my life and it’s well worth it. It’s wonderful the friendships that get built.”

Jim admitted that he was up at 6am one morning last month and wrapped 450 Christmas presents for a free Santa’s Grotto event held later that day - one of the last celebrations of the year.

And Jim’s aim for next year is to try his best at fulfilling the wishes of anyone who comes to him with ideas.

He added: “This is their club and that’s what I want it to be. The whole thing is about the community - we are here for them.

“I also want to do more for young adults with ASN. They get to a certain age and there’s no clubs for them anymore, so I want to provide something for them.”