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Beccles lunch club needs more volunteers or could be forced to close

PUBLISHED: 13:56 19 April 2013 | UPDATED: 13:56 19 April 2013

The Link Lunch club at St Luke's Church which is looking for more volunteers to help run it.
Vicar John Beauchamp with some of the volunteers.

Picture: James Bass

The Link Lunch club at St Luke's Church which is looking for more volunteers to help run it. Vicar John Beauchamp with some of the volunteers. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2013

A popular lunch club for the elderly may be forced to shut its doors through lack of volunteers.

The Link Club in Beccles has been serving home cooked meals to up to 70 people a week at St Luke’s Church Centre for more than 25 years.

For many of its patrons, some of which are in their 90s, it is their only outing of the week.

But with the volunteers getting older and others retiring there is a fear that the only regular lunch club in the town could fold.

Many hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people have benefitted from the friendship and support offered by the Link Club, as well as a nutritious meal on a Thursday lunchtime.

Over the past few weeks organisers have had to temporarily shut the kitchen.

Rev John Beauchamp, rector of St Luke’s Church said it offers a vital service to the town.

He said: “Many hundreds of people have enjoyed the club and many people have been valuable volunteers who have worked hard to keep it running. However, we are now in need of more volunteers. Many of the people who run the club today are getting older themselves and we need more help to cook and serve the meal each week.

“It could be a really positive experience for many people. If you are unemployed and seeking work and would like work experience, we could provide up to date references, or it could be experience for someone thinking of a career in catering, a parent whose children are at school, or someone newly retire looking for some voluntary work.”

Volunteers can choose their own hours and jobs including preparing food, serving meals, washing up, laying tables and front of house welcoming.

Sylvia and Dougie Brown have been part of the lunch club for 23 years.

Mrs Brown, 85, who is registered blind, said it would leave a huge void in their lives if the club closed.

“We go for two reasons, the food first of all and perhaps more importantly it’s for the social side, it’s like a family gathering. We have our little laughs, a little bit of banter which we enjoy. We genuinely look forward to meeting each other.

“I would be quite sad if it closed, we would like people to join to help as it would be most appreciated.”

If you would like to be a volunteer call Mr Beauchamp on 01502 712317 or email johnbeauchamp@f2s.com

The Link club runs each Thursday and serves a two-course home-cooked meal.

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