Creative guest entertains others at lunch club for elderly

October 2012

It's not just the volunteers who are resourceful when it comes to organising entertainment and keeping everyone involved at St Mary's Lunch Club in Newton Aycliffe. Regular guest, Brenda has brought her own creative talents to the weekly games of bingo – much to the delight of everyone at the lunch club.

With many of the guests restricted by failing sight or the ability to manage the standard-sized bingo cards, Brenda set about arranging to have her own cards made and her daughter stepped in with the perfect solution.

The lunch club now has large, clear, custom-made bingo cards which can be wiped clean so they can be used over and over again, keeping costs down and allowing every single guest to participate. Brenda also enjoys organising the games and calling the bingo numbers and her unique style brings many a chuckle to her fellow-guests.

Brenda, herself, gets so much out of being involved, recalling the days when she used to enjoy running a social club before ill health forced her into retirement. Playing an active part in helping to entertain the lunch club guests really has given her a new lease of life and made her feel useful and valued.

Among the men and women enjoying the benefits of the lunch club each week are regular guests, Mary and Derek, who find that Thursday is definitely their favourite day of the week.

"We both love it here" said Derek "It's so friendly, the atmosphere is lovely and everyone thoroughly enjoys a good chat with each other. We all get along so well. There is another club we go to, but they only serve lunch and you don't have time to spend chatting or playing games. If this was open two days a week we'd be here both days."

St Mary's Lunch Club volunteers are currently planning ahead for Christmas and are over-the-moon that Great Aycliffe and Midrich Partnership recently granted them £300. Part of the money will be used to put on a very special Christmas celebration at the lunch club. A great big thank you goes to the Partnership from all the guests and volunteers.

St Mary's Lunch Club is held every Thursday between 11am and 2pm at St Mary's Church Hall on Burn Lane, Newton Aycliffe and costs just £3 for morning and afternoon refreshments, a two-course lunch, bingo quizzes and an opportunity to meet and make friends with others in the area.

The lunch club is one of eleven PACE (Parish and Community Enablement) projects around the region, run by volunteers and supported by local parishes and St Cuthberts Care.