Holly Lodge Community Centre hosts Christmas lunches for lonely
- Credit: Mike Towers
A Highgate community centre has hosted Christmas lunches for isolated residents in memory of a “godsend” volunteer.
Holly Lodge Community Centre (HLCC) fed festive meals to its Highgate attendees on December 7 and December 14, while treating them to some Christmas music and a quiz.
The feel-good event was funded by Highgate-based Lady Goulds Charity, with residents presented gift bags filled with contributions from Highgate School pupils.
HLCC manager Mike Towers said: “We want there to be no barriers to local people who are isolated or lonely receiving a generous dose of festive spirit.
“Our lunch clubs, for many attendees, are the only social interaction they have.
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“Suspending them for more than six months through two lockdowns was heartbreaking, so we've pulled out all the stops to run them as Covid-proofed as possible.”
The Christmas lunches were marked in tribute to Sabine Trumpa, who lived on the Holly Lodge Estate and died earlier this year.
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Of Oakeshott Avenue, Sabine was one of the founding volunteers of the Holly Lodge lunch clubs, which have attracted dozens of diners for weekly three-course meals since 2015.
The community figure managed the former Café Delancey, in Camden Town, and a celebration of her life was held with community centre staff, volunteers, trustees and lunch club diners at St Mary Brookfield church in October.
Paying tribute to Sabine, Mike said: “She was a godsend – with her experience of working in restaurants, she put structure and order into what we were doing that first experimental lunchtime, and every Monday lunchtime until February this year.”
After lending its kitchen to Highgate Newtown Community Centre's meals on wheels service for three months during the first lockdown, HLCC is repeating the feat on Christmas Day.
Hot dinners will be prepared from Holly Lodge and then delivered around Highgate and its surrounding areas.
In the New Year, HLCC will start to plan events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Holly Lodge Estate in 2024.
The roster of entertainment is set to include 1920s-themed street parties, Charleston dance sessions, history and art exhibitions, a time capsule, “and more”.