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Royal Voluntary Service blog
Find out about the people behind Royal Voluntary Service in our series of guest stories from our volunteers, staff and partners.

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"I love life and people and want to keep my brain going, and volunteering definitely helps!"

Set up in February 2019 and supported by funds from the Asda Foundation Social Dining Clubs programme, The Royal Voluntary Service Monday Lunch & Social Club is a weekly social dining club that meets at The Quaker Hall in Maldon, Essex.

Royal Voluntary Service volunteer coordinator Diane
Lead Coordinator for the club is Diane Cox, 70.

"I’ve been a volunteer for years and years, through Girl Guiding and now with Royal Voluntary Service. My view is that it’s good to be active and help people while you can. I love life and people and want to keep my brain going, and volunteering definitely helps! "

The Monday Lunch & Social Club welcomes over 20 diners from the local area each week. They travel to the club by minibus (volunteer drivers collect those needing transport), on foot, by mobility scooter or in their own cars to enjoy a two course lunch with us.

But there’s much more on offer at the club than a hearty meal. We open our doors at 10am, to enable club members to start the day by getting active – either with a gentle chair-based exercise class to stretch and strengthen muscles, or by exercising the brain with jigsaw puzzles, bingo, dominoes, card games and quizzes. We provide newspapers and magazines, and hot drinks and biscuits are served too.

Royal Voluntary Service Monday Lunch & Social Club 
We have a lovely team of volunteers who read to visually impaired members and those who find it difficult to read, and we have poetry readings too.

After working up an appetite for lunch, our friendly volunteers serve a tasty homemade two course lunch, cooked from scratch by volunteer cooks, Val and Sue. Fish pie, stews, jacket potatoes, gammon and bacon-wrapped chicken, all served with fresh veg, are favourites on the menu, with strawberries and cream, apple crumble or rice pudding to follow. For most members, this will be the main meal they eat in a day and there are usually empty plates. For those that find big meals over-facing, smaller portions are provided. After more activities, the afternoon finishes with tea and cake.

We get fantastic feedback from diners who really enjoy the combination of a home-cooked meal, exercise and activities. Old friends stay in touch through the club and new friendships have formed too. The club continues to grow because many of our members recommend it to others. There’s always a lovely, buzzy atmosphere and it’s difficult to draw things to a close each week at 2pm as people don’t want to leave!

Royal Voluntary Service Monday Lunch & Social Club
Helping to run the lunch club is so rewarding for all of the volunteers; knowing that we are helping our members to live happier and healthier lives, reducing loneliness and isolation makes it so worthwhile. Volunteering is something that gives me purpose and satisfaction – I’d recommend it to anybody!

All of us at the Monday Lunch Club are very grateful to the Asda Foundation for their support. They help clubs like ours all over the country to make a difference to our communities.

Posted by Diane Cox at 11:15 Friday, 20 September 2019.