Sunday 1st July…our last at 48!

Cor, we just love you lot so much that we now want to cater for more of you! As I’ve said in previous posts, the demand for The Welbeloved Club has been phenomenal and as a result, Sunday 1stJuly was our last lunch at The Hailey Centre. We want to thank the Centre for all of their help and guidance in getting our club off the ground, and for advertising for us! Many of our clients also attend The Hailey Centre so it’s been a wonderful example of two organisations working together for the same goal.

So now, we move to Sawbridgeworth Memorial Hall where we can cater for up to 100 guests rather than 48. A huge step up but absolutely achievable thanks to the hospitality and generosity of local businesses and charities, especially our new venue. They have so very kindly offered to support us in purchasing new equipment and have been on hand every day to support us through this transition. I work full-time, and run The Welbeloved Club completely voluntarily, so the offers of help in every form have meant the world. We have people washing and ironing, sorting our dreaded GDPR policies, doing our accounts, giving us money and so much more! Thank you to all of you, you know who you are.

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This month was supposed to be a Wimbledon theme, but I think the memo got lost especially for me! However, given the weather and how warm it was for our guests, we felt it was only appropriate to provide a lighter (but just as tasty!) lunch consisting of homemade egg and bacon quiche with potatoes and salad, with I guess a ‘Wimbledon’ pudding in the form of strawberries, meringue and cream. Safe to say it was warmly received with hardly any coming back again!

I always talk of a ‘warm’ environment, but never quite so literally! I think it’s fair to say the hall was very toasty despite our best efforts to keep it cool, so you can imagine working in this heat and the kitchen wasn’t the most pleasant experience. However, the volunteers worked their bums off yet again to deliver such fantastic service. The washing up still got done, the food and drinks were still served and cleared away and nobody complained at all. In fact, it was probably me moaning the most about how sweaty it was for us all!

When our guests leave, we get the standard ‘it was very nice’ and ‘it was very tasty’ and, ‘I won’t eat for a week!’, but it’s the comments we get and the cards we receive in the following days that mean the most. Good food can only go so far, but for me it appears the atmosphere we are creating is what brings people back every time. It’s the attention to detail that people notice, and above all it’s the reassurance that despite your age and what has led you to this point in your life, you are not alone. We love spending time with you, and hope that by spending your Sunday with us, it makes a lonely weekend just a bit more bearable.

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I’m told that guests are swapping numbers with each other and even giving each other a lift there and back. Could we have hoped for better by the way??? They’ve made friends, because of us. My job here is done! Almost. We also have guests arriving who, on their first go were full of apprehension and clinging onto their adult children, as if arriving for their first day at nursery. Jump forward a few months, they barely share a kiss goodbye with them! They are off on their mission to find their favourite seat and the rest is history. Joking aside, that actually makes me quite emotional. We have facilitated something that at 80 odd years old, you would never have tried. You resign yourself to old age and consider yourself ‘too old’ to try something new. We’ve helped you break down those barriers and are living proof it’s never too old to make some friends.

Come and join us on the 5thAugust at our brand new venue, and bring all of your family and friends!

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