We are now well into our 2019 autumn season, the nights are getting longer and our guest list is certainly growing!
Autumn and winter can be a really tough time for those on their own. Christmas is looming, the weather can stop older people from getting out and with the nights drawing in, it is no surprise this time of year is said to be the loneliest time of year. It’s also Halloween season which, if not respected by everyone, can be very scary for older people for a different reason. If you are living on your own and are not used to knocks on your door, ‘trick or treaters’ can be very overwhelming. Nobody should be made to feel anxious in their own homes, and while nobody wants to spoil the fun, please be mindful of your elderly neighbours who may not want to be disturbed this Halloween night.
Our (very busy) lunch this month was roast beef, followed by apple sponge and custard. We always buy local when we can, and this month we were delighted to purchase the apples from my workplace, St Elizabeth’s Centre in Much Hadham. They host Apple Day once a year where guests are invited to pick apples from the orchard in exchange for donations. The timing worked perfectly so guests enjoyed apple sponge courtesy of a local orchard! It also means we were able to support another charity which makes it all the better.
We continue to welcome new guests every month. I would say at the moment on average, we are welcoming perhaps 3-5 new faces which is lovely! Two of our volunteers Jess and Hannah had their lunch with two new chaps and really enjoyed getting to know them. I joined them soon after and enjoyed being able to take 10 minutes to chat, as well as catching up with one of our regulars. It’s all very well cooking, serving and clearing away food, but it is the face to face conversation we are trying to promote. This doesn’t have to be just between guests – I”m always encouraging volunteers to take up rogue empty seats so they can spend some time getting to know our guests and who knows, likely be the first person they have spoken to all week.
I mentioned earlier that lunch was super busy. I was at one point worried we wouldn’t be able to pull the lunch off as I was limited on volunteers but sure enough that wasn’t the case for very long! In times of need, people pull together and as I predicted, I probably had too many at one point! I always try and stagger arrivals and departures so everyone can get the most out of their time with us but I’m likely to never get it completely right. I’m so grateful for every minute people give me, and for their patience when things can be a bit quiet for them or the opposite! It’s a work in progress and I owe them all a huge thank you for sticking by me.
As we look to our November lunch, I’m really excited to say that our singer from last year Diane Moore-Cowell is coming back! She got everyone up on their feet and gave everyone a really fun, uplifting afternoon. We loved her so much that I couldn’t wait to invite her back. We will be hosting another Remembrance theme, in which guests will be able to wave a flag and singalong with all their favourites.
I have another bit of very exciting news. I can’t confirm too much yet but I’m thrilled to say that the Bishop’s Stortford Independent newspaper are supporting our Christmas appeal again this year. We have already had a number of sponsors come forward to pay for our ‘Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh’ packages, as well as our ‘Little Donkey’ package. All will become clear next month but watch this space! Thank you so very much to Paul and his team at the Indie for showing us your endless support.
See you next month for Remembrance!
P.S – we have just joined the world of Instagram – follow us now at @thewelbelovedclub !