The popularity of a new lunch club launched in Wickhambrook has given rise to hopes that similar ventures could be established in other west Suffolk villages.
The Meet and Eat club met for the first time last Thursday (8) at the Greyhound thanks to the combined efforts of the pub’s manager Jack Couzens and Gavin Hodge, Age UK Suffolk’s community involvement and liaison officer for West Suffolk.
With 29 people having attended it has been decided to hold the club on a monthly basis, with the next get together at midday on February 12.
Mr Hodge said: “I didn’t know until the day just how many would be coming.
“I was hoping for ten or 12 but when I got there and Jack said 23 were booked in but then 29 turned up I thought, brilliant, we are cooking with gas.”
Mr Couzens, who provides home cooked soup and a roll for £3.95, said: “They have got somewhere to come and meet. They are enjoying it and 29 people came and had a good time.”
The seeds for the club, which is open to anyone in Wickhambrook or surrounding villages, were planted after Age UK placed a questionnaire in the village newsletter to find out what was going on and what things older people would like to see happening in the village.
An action group was formed and members decided they would like a lunch club, with the Greyhound the chosen venue. Mr Couzens was approached and got involved.
With Wickhambrook’s Over-60s group having closed last year the timing of the new venture has proved to be ideal and Mr Hodge believes the club’s creation will lead to other groups, for example a Film Club, being formed.
He added: “There are quite a few people who are a bit isolated and we are working to make them feel more involved and find more community champions who can take projects like this forward.
“One of the good things about this is that three of the volunteers are willing to give lifts to the Meet and Eat Club, which is a great help because we are able to give people with mobility problems the chance to get there.
“My big hope is that the model we are establishing at the Greyhound might be transferable to other pubs in other villages which don’t currently have lunch clubs for older people.”