So here we are – our first lunch of 2020! I’m not quite sure where the time has gone, but it’s now just over two years since I first asked my friends on Facebook to help me start The Welbeloved Club. Back then, I asked for £1,000 to help get me started, with the aim of providing 48 people with lunch at The Hailey Centre in Sawbridgeworth. I soon reached and exceeded the target, roped in a few volunteers, bought some equipment and convinced my mum to ‘help’. The conversation went along the lines of “Mum, I’m thinking of doing this, do you reckon you could help me cook some food?” THANKFULLY she agreed (although Mum, do you remember being a little bit sceptical at first?!) and here we are. We have a bigger venue, the longest list of names you’ve ever seen, over 30 volunteers and even polo shirts to match.
January for us got off to a bit of a hairy start – it had been just over 5 weeks since our December lunch so it took a while to get back into the swing of things. However, it didn’t take long before everything was back to normal and we were ready to serve our first lunch of the year. On the menu was roast pork, crackling (of course) and veg, followed by homemade ginger pudding and white sauce. It was a very welcome start to 2020 and as always it was lovely to see clean plates coming back!
It was lovely to see so many familiar faces back for lunch after the Christmas break. With the lunch being so early on in December, it’s been quite a stretch in between. Having them back has served as a reminder to us all that despite The Welbeloved Club existing and giving them all a space to be with friends and company, it doesn’t heal the bitter sting of loneliness altogether. The majority of our guests were lucky to be with some family or friends on Christmas Day, but many of them were also alone. Due to not wanting to make a fuss and the classic British stiff upper lip, many spent the entire day not speaking to or seeing anybody and did not reach out. It’s what we expected, and despite being reminded daily I can’t fix it for everybody, it’s a hard pill to swallow. So, this time next year, I’m hoping to have something in place where those on their own will have somewhere to go or someone to talk to on Christmas Day.
Since the start of 2020, I have been trying to read up and educate myself as much as possible on the logistics and ‘back-end stuff’ of running a charity. Having only learnt on the job, there is still so much to learn and I’m accepting I can no longer do it alone. My aim now is to become a registered charity which above anything opens up more funding doors and puts us firmly on the map. We can hopefully reach out to the wider community and become your Charity of the Year, give talks in the local community and in Schools, inspire others to start something similar and much more. However with a charity comes Trustees, governance, laws and legal documentation and an obligation to stick to everything required of us. None of this is out of reach for us however, so I’m now working hard on making this a reality. I have taken steps to up our marketing game and have been in touch with a company to help us with our branding, website, logo and general marketing. We aren’t quite there yet but in a month or so I hope to have made huge steps forward in making this possible. So, watch this space!
On top of getting all of this sorted, I still have a lunch club to run month to month. The admin tasks are piling up and I find myself dedicating most evenings and weekends doing something for club, whether it’s filing, spreadsheets, purchasing or just reading up! Lots of people have offered their time to help me with small grant applications, volunteer admin, GDPR, risk assessment etc. – basically of the things I had no idea about and wouldn’t have even thought of without them! So, thank you so very much. I feel I spend my whole life thanking people and chewing their ear off about how I never take it for granted and remind myself everyday how lucky I am. But, I’ll say it again – thank you! I couldn’t do any of this without you all.
Next month we have roast beef and all the trimmings following by lemon mousse cake. No doubt it will be empty plates all round! Thanks to my sister, after lunch we also have a talk from a representative from Herts Police about fraud, scams and how our guests can protect themselves from falling victim to them.
See you all on the 2nd Feb!