Lunch club's appetite for bringing people together
A lunch club run by a Salvation Army church in Norwich is proving so successful its organisers say they may soon have to start a waiting list.
Before the start of the pandemic, the twice weekly lockdowns at the Norwich Mile Cross branch of the church and charity often welcomed less than 20 people. Now restrictions are finally easing, Major Paul and Major Susan Robinson, church leaders, say they welcome 37 people on Mondays and a similar number on Wednesdays. Maximum capacity is 40.
The majority of those who attend live on their own and come to enjoy a varied and wholesome two course meal in the company of other people. The clubs play an important role in creating new friendships through to reducing isolation through healthy and hearty meals in a safe and caring environment.
Susan said she thought the reasons behind the club’s success were simple.
She said: “During the pandemic, a lot of people felt very cut off and lonely, simply because they weren’t seeing anyone else. When restrictions lifted, we started advertising and the room is filled with very happy people who are laughing and joking. They are so happy to see each other.
“So many did not go out over lockdown and now just want to get out and talk. It is not just about the food, which is good, but about the company. We have also had interest about our other activities, and they even asked if we did funerals as they considered The Salvation Army to be their church. One lady had such a laugh she didn’t want to go home.”
In fact, the club is proving so popular, Peter Jeffries, the volunteer community manager, is organising a Christmas trip to the Thursford Christmas Spectacular later this year.
The popularity of the lunch club appears to be spreading to other activities at Norwich Mile Cross. Before lockdown, the Home League club, an afternoon for ladies and men, only welcomed six people and that number has now swelled to 17.
For more information on the Luncheon or Home League clubs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01603 486101
Picture credit: The Salvation Army