Lunch Club's warm welcome beats the winter chills

January 2013

Despite snowy conditions across much of the North East, many lunch clubs, tea groups and other social gatherings set up as part of St Cuthberts Care's PACE (Parish and Community Enablement) scheme, continued to provide a warm welcome for their guests.

At Kennedy Lunch Club in Blackhill, Consett, regular guests were still able to enjoy a pleasant afternoon out thanks to the dedicated volunteers who refused to be beaten by the weather and who turned up to provide lifts to the lunch club as usual.

"I couldn't have made it here without a lift today," said one guest. "I'm scared in case I slip if I go for the bus and I don't like going out at all when the weather is snowy and icy. I'm really grateful to the volunteers who provide lifts for us because we'd all miss it if we couldn't come."

As well as a hot, home-cooked meal in pleasant surroundings, volunteers also provide musical entertainment, bingo and raffles, which encourages everyone to socialise and keeps them coming back for more. May and Teresa sit together every week at the Lunch Club and have become good friends. "We did see each other at church," said Teresa, "but we became friends because we could get to know each other and spend time together here at the lunch club."

"Teresa has invited me along to the local coffee morning as well," said May. "Before joining the lunch club, I didn't have anywhere to go to meet people and now I'm out twice a week. It's great!"

Kennedy Lunch Club is one of 12 projects around the region to be set up under St Cuthberts Care's PACE initiative. Each project is run entirely by volunteers, with the support of the local parish and St Cuthberts Care, and helps vulnerable, elderly and lonely people. Kennedy Lunch Club is held every Thursday between 10.30am and 2.30pm at St Mary's Parish Hall in Derwent Street, Blackhill. If you or someone you know would benefit from attending the Lunch Club or you would like more information, please ring 01207 502 320.