Philip Deeks (Chair)
The Welbeloved Club is not just Jo’s marvellous idea. She puts in a tremendous effort every week, along with her mother, Gill, to make the Club a reality and great experience for all the volunteers and members. I was humbled to be asked to be the Chair, and I could only say yes.
After school in Hertfordshire, university in Exeter and a year teaching in France, I trained as an accountant in London, including a spell in the tax department, before working for a German bank then an Australian bank, doing business in various countries in Europe as well as Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and America.
Leaving all of that behind me just over 10 years ago, I set up my own business helping people to raise funding for their renewable energy businesses in the UK, then decided to set up one myself that is still keeping me busy in 2021.
Hopefully I am deploying some of the skills I’ve learned over the years. As well as my knowledge of accounting, tax, law, fund raising and financial propriety, I have become very familiar with the workings of organisations large and small and working with people in good and bad times.
I have served on a lot of committees and boards, and take my duties seriously whether as a director or trustee … or Chair! I can say without hesitation that all of the trustees fulfil their roles as trustees with great responsibility and diligence. Each brings different and important attributes to the Club, and wants to do their best for the Club’s volunteers and its members.
Jo Gill the founder of the club is my daughter. When she came to me with her idea of a Sunday lunch club for older people living alone I thought what a wonderful idea. Jo wanted to name the club after my darling Grandma Doris Welbeloved, as she was very well known for making cakes and other morsels for the older residents in her block of flats (she was in her 80s at the time!), but had spent her final years feeling somewhat isolated as a result of a stroke that made her unable to speak or walk.
She asked if I would help with the catering as I have experience cooking for large numbers in a day centre setting. Of course I said yes, and the seed was planted.
Some years on the club has grown into a fully fledged charity with an ever-growing client base. The feedback I receive from our guests is quite overwhelming at times. They simply love the concept, the food, the atmosphere but more importantly the company.
I was honoured to be asked to be a trustee and hope my experience of running my own businesses over the years will bring some financial and operational insight to the board.
When I heard about The Welbeloved Club in Sawbridgeworth I thought what a wonderful idea! As my Mum was widowed a number of years ago, I’m very aware of how lonely it can be especially on a Sundays for the elderly within our local community.
As I work with Jo, I thought I’d pop along and help volunteer at one of the Sunday lunches. I was so impressed with all the wonderful dedicated volunteers and seeing the members having such a lovely time together and enjoying the wonderful hot lunches. Sadly due to family sporting schedules I’m not able to volunteer as often as I’d like, so I was thrilled to be asked by Jo to become a trustee.
My 26 year career in a fast competitive retail environment from buying, marketing, brand management and people management in the UK and overseas brings a wealth of experience. In my current role as a Community Fundraising Manager, I understand how important it is to have clear policies, guidelines, H&S, event management, financial growth and most if all an understanding of our local community. I’m also a volunteer for the RDA (riding for the disabled) so I really understand the importance of volunteers.
I hope to use my experience to help grow the club over the coming years.
I have been involved with The Welbeloved Club since the start as my father was one of the first to attend. I started to help at the lunches as I was dropping him off and picking him up so it made sense to stay, but it soon became a pleasure to see all the same faces each month and something that I looked forward to.
When Jo approached me to be a trustee, I didn’t hesitate – the experience that I bring to The Welbeloved Club is through being a Manager and a Trustee of a Charity Pre-School for 20 years. I am able to transfer lots of the information that I have learnt over the years through the Pre-School into The Welbeloved Club such as Charity requirements, risk assessments, GDPR, fund raising, grant applications etc., and alongside all the other Trustees that have understanding of these areas and more, we are able to pool our knowledge and experiences to support Jo to continue to grow The Welbeloved Club, which is such an important lifeline for so many people in our community.
Over the years, I’ve done a lot of charity work - giving back to the community is close to my heart. I’ve known Jo and Gill my entire life, and I contacted Jo after reading her post on Facebook about how she was starting a lunch club. I remember my grandad going to a local older person’s club and he loved it!
I started volunteering from the second lunch and loved it. It’s not only supporting the elderly, I also picked up some extra craft knowledge from one member and now have an impressive succulent collection at home thanks to some pro tips from another member. The rest of my family now volunteer, you’ll find my Dad in the kitchen with Gill, my Mum laying tables and my fiancé peeling potatoes….the first potato he ever peeled was at The Welbeloved Club at the age of 35!
I was honoured when Jo asked me to be a Trustee. I have over 15 years of experience in marketing, working across various organisations from charities, to finance, to B2B. I will use this experience to help grow the club, supporting more members and being a lifeline for more of the community.