As part of a thriving volunteer programme run by Daventry & District Housing (DDH) in conjunction with Seven Locks Housing, 520 lunch clubs have been organised for residents at sheltered schemes and members of the local community.
With almost 5,000 hours of time provided by volunteers across the whole volunteering programme in the last year, lunch clubs are becoming increasingly popular and ensure that local people can enjoy home cooked meals and meet new people on a weekly basis.
Across the Daventry district, the lunch clubs are organised by Lynne Dorney, who lives in Daventry. Supported by DDH volunteers, the clubs provide a range of traditional meals in a safe and friendly environment.
Diners pay £5 for a two-course meal and can choose from a menu of two dishes. The most popular include roast dinners, liver and bacon and toad in the hole, as well as desserts like apple crumble and rice pudding.
Five of the seven sheltered accommodation schemes run by DDH play host to the lunch clubs on a weekly basis. Starting on Monday at Greenhill Court in Long Buckby, the clubs cater for residents at Saxon House in Brixworth on Tuesday, Chappell House in Moulton on Wednesday and Henry Smith House in Daventry on Thursday before the final lunch club of the week takes place every Friday at Stephenson Court in Kilsby.
The lunch clubs are typically attended by people aged between 60 and 90 and see residents from the sheltered schemes, as well as local people that aren’t DDH tenants, gather for two hours between 12pm and 2pm.
Jo Miller, volunteer co-ordinator for Daventry & District Housing, said: “The lunch clubs are very popular with our residents and represent another excellent initiative that has been supported by our successful volunteering programme.
“Linking up with Seven Locks Housing our joint volunteering programme led to people volunteering a total of 4,808 hours during 2014/15. As part of that, 520 separate lunch clubs were organised.
“It’s fantastic to see the impact our volunteers have on people living in the sheltered schemes, as they provide companionship and help to reduce social isolation. The volunteers themselves also benefit from the social interaction and gain more confidence and a sense of achievement.”
Margaret Confue (70), a DDH tenant living in a nearby bungalow, who attends the Henry Smith lunch club in Daventry every week, said: “I come to socialise and meet new people. The meals are very good and reasonably priced.
“I live on my own and quite often I just do as little as I can in terms of preparing my own meals, so to have a choice of two home-cooked meals is fantastic. The atmosphere is very welcoming. I knew a lot of the residents here before I started coming to the lunch clubs but it’s great to meet new people.
“Lynne who cooks the meals is lovely and the volunteers are very kind. We all look out for each other. It would be great if more people came to the club, the more the merrier!”
Margaret Rhodes (73), who also lives locally but is a private resident, added: “The lunch clubs are great value for money. You couldn’t make a meal yourself for that price. There’s a good variety and the food is lovely, and I was a cook so that’s saying something! Everybody is so friendly that it makes you stay for longer.”
Meals can be delivered to the door if residents struggle to access the communal dining room. DDH volunteers also attend the lunch clubs, hosting bingo games, organising general knowledge quizzes and providing companionship for residents.
Lynne Dorney, who prepares all of the food, said: “We use healthy, fresh produce and provide meals that people living on their own don’t tend to cook for themselves. We treat it like we’re serving people in a restaurant.
“The lunch club is the highlight of the week for many of the residents. To them, it’s more than a meal; it’s a lovely social event. We’d like to cater for more people and currently have the capacity to cook for up to 20 each day. It would be great to see more local people benefitting from the lunch clubs.”
If you or a family member might be interested in attending one of the lunch clubs, please phone Lynne Dorney on 07867304564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to book your place.
If you would like volunteer at one of the lunch clubs or find out more information about how you can become a volunteer for DDH, please email email@example.com for more information.