Eileen’s legacy

Joan and Linda at the Royal Voluntary Service Fulwood Lunch Club
The Fulwood Lunch Club in Lancashire brightens up the lives of older people in the area with nourishing home-cooked food and a chance to make new friends and catch up with old ones. But when the club’s cooker was on its last legs, the future of the lunch club was threatened. Thankfully, a legacy left by Eileen Monaghan meant the club could buy a brand new cooker – and the lunches could continue.

Joan is just one of the lunch club regulars who would feel a void in their lives without the weekly get-togethers. Although she has a zest for life, she finds it difficult to get out and about – so her regular visits to the lunch club are very important to her.

"I don’t remember a time when the club wasn’t here. I would miss it if it went. It makes a big difference to me. It’s lovely to come. Sandra, the club leader, is marvellous and works hard to make us feel welcome. The food is good, and we have a party at Easter and Christmas."

91 year old Joan who visits the Lunch Club regularly
Volunteer Sandra, who has been leading the club for 22 years, is aware of the crucial role it plays for older people, who might otherwise be isolated.

"The members – who are mostly 80-90 years old – are a lovely bunch of people. I think it’s important that they still have social connections. I feel very much involved in their lives. Most people that come to the club live alone and even when the weather is terrible, they will still come out. I think it shows how important it is to them."

Linda, who has been helping out at the club for three decades has seen how the members grow in confidence as they connect with others: “I think the club is essential. Many older people are lonely or have lost their confidence. It can be scary starting something new, walking into a room full of people you don’t know.”

The club’s fun and friendly atmosphere demonstrates that Eileen’s kind legacy bought far more than a cooker – she has made sure that 30 older people can share companionship as well as a hot, nourishing meal each week.

Without people like Eileen, leaving a gift in their Will, older people would not have access to Lunch Clubs like Fulwood. You too, can ensure that people get the support they need in their homes, in the community and during a stay in hospital. Along with Eileen, people who choose to support in this way, will be remembered for their generosity and for changing lives.

Image above: Joan shares a smile with volunteer Linda at the Lunch Club

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