Lucrezia, Katie and Echo add unusual twist to Monday Club celebrations

October 2012

More than 25 guests and a dozen volunteers from All Saints Monday Club gathered recently to celebrate the first anniversary of the social activity evening and the positive changes it has made to their lives. Everyone enjoyed a delicious buffet of sandwiches, quiche and cakes, all made by the volunteers and guests, and rounded off the evening with a slice of celebration cake served with Bucks Fizz.

Two very unusual visitors had been invited as part of the celebrations, providing everyone with the opportunity to see and touch live bats, Lucrezia and Katie. The bats had been brought along by a speaker from Durham Bat Group who shared a fascinating insight into their lives and answered questions from guests and volunteers alike.

Lucrezia and Katie weren't the only animal guests at the celebration, however. Echo the guide dog is a regular guest at the Monday Club, coming along every week with his owners, Anne and Gerard. Gerard is partially-sighted and relies on Echo to maintain his independence, while his wife, Anne provides his care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Monday Club gives them all a chance to socialise, chat and relax, while there is no shortage of attention lavished on Echo, too. "Echo loves coming here as much as we do," said Anne. "He knows all the regular guests and they get a lot out of him being around. For us, it's two hours of fun and getting away from it all, which is a real treat."

Many of the guests at the celebration have been coming to the Monday Club since it first opened its doors, enjoying the warm welcome, the fun and laughter and the new friends they have made. One guest couldn't wait to show off the Monday Club to her sister during her recent visit from Scarborough. "She was so impressed," said Eva, "she couldn't stop talking about the Monday Club and how great it is when she got home. Now she's encouraged something similar to be set up for people in her neighbourhood. "I wasn't going out at all before, but now I've found the Monday Club I'm out every week. Coming here is the best thing I ever did."

All Saints Monday Club is held every Monday between 6.30pm and 8.30pm in All Saints Parish Hall, Lanchester. Offering a light supper and refreshments, bingo, quizzes and lots of opportunity to chat and make new friends, it costs just £2 per person.

All Saints Monday Club is one of eleven PACE (Parish and Community Enablement) projects around the region, run by volunteers and supported by the local parish and St Cuthberts Care. The main purpose of the projects is to provide a warm, welcoming place for elderly, isolated, lonely or vulnerable people to meet, find friendship, share food and entertainment and feel part of their community once more. To find out more about PACE, contact Kathleen Urwin by email: kathleen.urwin@stcuthbertscare.org.uk or by calling: 0191 228 0111.