Sunday 1st April – Easter Sunday!

Happy Easter from everyone at The Welbeloved Club!

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When we realised our first Sunday lunch in April would in fact be Easter Sunday, we were torn as to whether or not to run. Many of our guests despite facing loneliness, do in fact have family who perhaps live just a bit further afield, or they live close by but lead very busy lives. Regardless, we thought there may be a chance we ‘wouldn’t be needed’ as families do tend to come together for occasions like Easter and Christmas.

On reflection however, it dawned on me that we also have a lot of guests who have nobody to call on to celebrate Easter with, with many leaving the next of kin box blank on their registration forms, or giving the name of a person who is of no relation but can be contacted for emergencies only.

We can’t have this!

So, we gave our own Easter Sunday up with pleasure in order to celebrate with many who would have otherwise spent the day alone. And what a lovely afternoon it turned out to be!

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Lunch was a hearty meal of roast lamb with potatoes and veg, followed by an oldie favourite – trifle! When I took bookings for this month, something tells me it was the lamb that sold it. Many told me they absolutely loved lamb but it would never be something they cook at home, especially just for one person. With this in mind, with delight we served just over 40 people this rare treat and received rave reviews. Our guests also enjoyed a small Easter egg each, followed by chocolate mints and a luxury raffle!

Every month we receive donations for our raffle and the prizes are so beautiful. This month, Reed Recruitment Specialist in Harlow kindly donated a luxury Easter egg as our top prize. Whenever I put a call out for a top prize, it never fails to amaze me the people and businesses that come forward only too happy to fulfil this request. A huge thank you to them and to everyone who continues to donate such lovely gifts. The raffle raises about £80 which generally pays for the meat we serve every month so we wouldn’t be without it!

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My friend Hayley came all the way from Longstanton in Cambridge to join us on Easter Sunday, and took some amazing photos of our guests and volunteers. Hayley and I had some success with a documentary we made back in 2014 called ‘Jack: Differently Abled’. We went on to make another documentary focusing on volunteer impact and we’ve stayed friends ever since. It has been nearly 3 years since I saw Hayley last but it was like no time had passed! With everyone being so busy on the day, we often forget to take pictures or really see the difference we are making at the club. Hayley’s photos really demonstrate the joy and happiness we are bringing to our guest’s lives so it’s been lovely to reflect on. Thank you Hayley for being a part of it.

A huge thank you to our volunteer Tallulah, who made 8 beautiful centre pieces for each of our tables. They brought so much life and colour into the room, and everyone commented on how gorgeous they were. At the end of the afternoon, the person with a birthday nearest to the 1st April took the flowers home as an extra gift.

We also had a brief talk from my sister Rachael, who works for Leicestershire Police in their fraud department. She helps vulnerable people to protect themselves from common scams and fraudulent activity so it was great to have her expertise with us yesterday. She answered a few questions from our guests and gave them a few points to be aware of and how to stay safe in your own home and online.

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Guests also enjoyed a song our youngest volunteer Jack played on his guitar. I believe this was the first time Jack had played to a large audience and it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Well done Jack!

I want to round off by saying another thank you to all of my volunteers. I can’t (and won’t) say thank you enough for everything you do, especially yesterday on Easter Sunday. We have drivers who pick up our guests from Bishop’s Stortford free of charge, volunteers in the kitchen preparing a two course meal for over 40 people, volunteers serving and clearing away and replenishing refreshments, volunteers washing and drying up, volunteers assisting with the raffle and volunteers offering to do our laundry for the month. We have so much support and help, it means I can relax (kind of!) and interact with our guests to really introduce myself and gain feedback from everyone. I knew what I wanted to achieve from this club and having so much help means I achieve above and beyond that every single month.

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This was our third lunch and everyone noted how much louder the hall had become as guests start to become more comfortable with each other. It warms my heart and it’s exactly what is meant to happen. For me too, I’m starting to get to know the guests and understand what has brought them to this point. Many have lost partners and friends over the years, have family far away or none at all, or poor health means they don’t manage to get out of the house on a regular basis.

One of our guests David told us a bit more about his life when he phoned to book. David was a chef in the Army for many years, and lost his wife a few years ago. David now lives on his own and says he ‘misses his wife everyday’. David was so kind and arrived yesterday with a homemade cake just for us. It’s absolutely delicious and I’m sorry to say David we now expect one every month!

I feel very content knowing there are over 40 older people that didn’t spend Easter alone yesterday. I hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did hosting you. Someone wrote online that my Great-Grandma Doris would be very proud of what we have achieved. I hope that’s true, and she’s at the forefront of my mind every month.

Happy Easter, see you on 29th April!

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