Sunday 26th August – a bank holiday feast

Sunday 26thAugust saw us serve our second lunch at the new venue, and what a difference a bit of forward planning (and experience) makes! Last month was understandably a bit frantic – new venue, new equipment, new everything. This time round though, the mood and environment was positively calmer and more organised thanks to our fab team.

I have to say, I personally felt it was the calmest we had been. A few of us noted it could be the weather (it was pouring down!) and I agreed to a degree, but I think we genuinely were more organised and knew what needed to be done. We are all getting into a routine now, and as well as learning more about the guests, we are learning more about how to pull off such a huge task efficiently and promptly.

The club continues to grow and grow in numbers, and I really feel we are starting to reach the ones most in need of company. Thank you to our friends at The Bishop’s Stortford Independent, The Flyer and local businesses displaying flyers, I’m getting calls each month of new people wanting to come and have lunch with us, which is great. It’s lovely for me as on the rare times I actually get to chat on the phone with them (messages are mainly left for me!), I get to have an informal chat with them first and learn all about them and ease any concerns they have about joining. I’m welcoming more and more people who are literally writing ‘no-one’ in their next of kin boxes. They now have us to call their friends, and suddenly their world is just that bit bigger.

Lunch this month was roast chicken with stuffing, potatoes and veg, followed by homemade jam roly poly! Reaping the benefits as a volunteer certainly sat well with me this month as this is my absolute favourite. Top marks to my Godmother Annabel who was on custard duties – ten or so pints of custard doesn’t seem to phase you as much as it did back in February but be warned people, don’t distract her while she’s counting!

In the background, the club continues to be embraced by people far and wide. We have had a number of funding successes with grants from Hertfordshire Community Foundation, Herts County Council, and fingers crossed the Postcode Lottery. As some of you may have seen too, The Bishop’s Stortford Bowls Club fundraised and divided their total figure between 3 very worthy causes – The Welbeloved Club being one. Raffle prizes continue to flood in, kind messages and cards of support, freebies in many forms and just a general sense of endorsement and recognition. Mandeville Primary School in Sawbridgeworth have selected The Welbeloved Club for their harvest festival collection, and are coming along to our December lunch to sing us some carols!

I drove through Bishop’s Stortford town the other afternoon, and I saw two ladies who attend The Welbeloved Club, together! Neither knew each other before joining and now here they are, wandering around the town together. It may not seem much, but this is exactly what is supposed to happen. We run only once a month, so there really is no need to wait a whole month to see your new friends. These two lovely ladies are proof what we are promoting truly does work! What’s more, it’s proof instilling just a little confidence and reassurance that you’re never too old to make new friends works a charm if you allow it to.

To date, we have 95 people on our books. It’s a phenomenal amount, and a number that just keeps growing. We can only do what we can do, but it’s further proof that something needs to change. This is just across two small towns – imagine how many more people are out there in need of some companionship. Please reach out to someone you know who may need a friend. It could be a neighbour, a friend of a friend, or simply someone you see every week in your local coffee shop. Say hello! Offer them an ear. Bake them cake, take them for lunch, drink tea. Or, give them a lift to The Welbeloved Club.

See you in October!