May 23 2013 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Sunday, February 17, 2013
A Kentish Town lunch club which gives pensioners a reason to get up in the morning is under threat - unless the community rallies round.
The Queen’s Crescent Lunch Club needs 200 kind-hearted residents to come forward and donate just £2.50 a week so it can continue to offer warm, three course meals to around 100 of Camden’s “most isolated” pensioners five days a week.
The club, in Ashdown Crescent, has been running for more than a decade and is a lifeline for visitors.
Dot Whyman, 92, said: “I get lonely. Going to the dinners helps me a lot. It gets me out of the house so I don’t sit and cry.”
Pauline Govier, 86, added: “If I wasn’t going down there I couldn’t afford a proper meal every day.”
It has so far managed to survive - despite Camden Council cutting funding for lunch clubs - thanks to donations already received. But older people’s service manager Larraine Revah now fears she may have to start cutting back on the service in order to keep the lunch club going, until she can find alternative funding to plug the gap.
“As time goes on, money runs out - we don’t want that to happen. But if it was sustainable for a year I would have the time to look for other sources of funding.”
Ms Revah had the idea of asking residents for donations, dubbed the ‘200 Club’, which she hopes will inspire people to Camden’s pensioners.
“This is a service they deserve and enjoy,” she said. “Instead of staying at home and not doing anything, not meeting people, they look forward to getting up and getting dressed.”
But the club is not just about the nutritious food which is placed on the table - which costs each pensioner just £3.50 and is often their main meal.
It also offers the chance to get out and have a catch-up with old friends. The club also provides a venue where pensioners can find information about other activities and advice on offer.
There is even the chance of romance and some talk of couples who have married after meeting at the club, which attracts people from as far away as East Finchley.
“If local people would give to local charity where every single bit is much needed and wanted, that would be a good thing,” said Ms Revah.
* To find out more, contact Ms Revah at the centre on 020 7267 6635, or donate by visiting uk.virginmoneygiving.com and searching for QCCA. Make it clear in the message box you wish your donation to go to the lunch club.