Sunday 6th January – Happy New Year!


A Happy New Year from everyone at The Welbeloved Club! 2018 saw us launch our first lunch and expand in more ways than we could have ever imagined. We have met so many wonderful people (both guests and supporters) and hope 2019 will continue to bring us success and growth.

Our first lunch of the year I have to say was somewhat quieter than Christmas. As you know, our Christmas lunch saw us launch the first Bishop’s Stortford Independent appeal, as well as host a choir from Mandeville primary, give out presents and welcome new guests and volunteers. From my point of view, it was very full on! The whole afternoon was a bit of a blur, so I was pleased to get back into our normal routine this month. On the menu was roast pork (and crackling of course!) followed by ginger sponge. Safe to say it all went down a treat, with hardly any coming back! Mum definitely got the New Year off to a great start – I have no doubt it will continue.

Providing some entertainment at our lunches has been a regular thing since our lunch back in November. It seems to go down really well and is really well received by our guests. It appears to give them something to enjoy while having a tea or coffee, and for me it means our afternoons can continue on for a little longer. This matters to me as it means our guests can essentially stay out a little longer, and don’t have to go back to an empty house so soon. We only meet once a month, so it’s really important we give our guests an experience to remember.

I was delighted to welcome Tom Ryder to come and sing a few songs at our January lunch. Tom has volunteered a few times for us and is a fantastic professional musician! Tom has made a career of his music, as well as launching his own project, ‘Retune’ last year. Retune, like us, runs once a month and hosts an array of talented musicians in an intimate gig to promote mental wellbeing. I am a huge advocate for Tom’s work and am thrilled he could join us for lunch. We had lots of guests singing along!


I want to clear up a little confusion about a small scheme I am running this year. The Welbeloved Club had so much support last year, so I wanted 2019 to be a year of giving back to causes close to my heart. I have taken the decision to donate our raffle money each month to nine different causes and/or charities that mean something to me, and are just as deserving as us. I think there had been some confusion about giving money away from one charity to the other, or simply giving away money that people are donating to us.

To be clear, any donations that are given to The Welbeloved Club will absolutely stay with the club, and will be spent as they are intended (venue hire, equipment, ingredients etc). Money obtained on the day from guests will also be put back into the club’s account and will be spent replenishing stock and ingredients needed each month. The money in question is additional funds obtained from guests when purchasing a raffle ticket. Our guests have been told this is where their raffle money will go, so they are well within their rights to not purchase raffle tickets if they choose not to. Raffle money amounts to around £70 a month, and I feel very strongly about the decision I have made to ‘give it away’ to other causes. Many of the causes are local, who benefit our local community and have a direct link to the area. I hope this clears up some of the confusion! The causes I have chosen to support with our raffle takings are:

The Apton Centre – The Apton Centre is a meeting place for over 55s in Bishop’s Stortford. They provide a space for older people to come and join in with lots of different activities and come for lunch regularly throughout the week. Just because she doesn’t cook enough for us, Mum also cooks part time down there and has really made the scheme a success (as if there was any doubt!).

Edie’s Butterfly Appeal – Founded by local Bishop’s Stortford Wilson family, this appeal funds research into childhood Ependymoma. Sadly, Edie Wilson passed away last year, but we have such fond memories of bumping into her and her mum Cate on dog walks around the lake. The appeal is doing so many wonderful things and we want to support in memory of Edie.

Retune – As mentioned above, Tom founded this project to put positive focus and attention on the stigma of mental health. As a sufferer of mental health problems myself, it has been a joy to see my friend Tom give life to this project, and provide a platform for fantastic unsigned musicians. We feel very proud Tom is using a combination of his experiences and talent to pull this show off each month.

Rape Crisis (England and Wales) – A very topical subject at the moment, and long may it continue. Supporting this charity reflects my passion for re-education of sexual misconduct, and my support behind the #MeToo movement. Supporting this charity is personally very important to me for more reasons than I can explain.

No Panic – As someone who battles anxiety and depression every day, No Panic is a fantastic charity that supports people going through very difficult battles. I have used their services many times, and without them I don’t know where or who I would have turned to.

Crohn’s & Colitis UK – My bestest friend in the whole wide world has Crohn’s and I want to support this charity. I have seen first-hand how her life has been changed by this condition, and I see every day the strength she displays to fight it. Supporting this charity might one day mean they find a cure for this awful disease!

Waverley Care – Mum met CEO Grant and his partner Steve on a cooking holiday many years ago, and they continue to be great friends of ours! Based in Scotland, Waverley Care provides education, prevention, testing and support to individuals living with or affected by HIV or Hepatitis C. They do fantastic work and we know personally how hard Grant works to keep this charity going, and the huge difference they make!

The Silver Line – Now, this charity was what inspired me to launch The Welbeloved Club. I saw an appeal from them a few years ago on Sport Relief, and it planted the seed. The Silverline provide a 24-hour free helpline to older people in need of some support and companionship. I volunteered a few years ago with their befriending service and can’t tell you how valuable the service is for many older people throughout the UK.

Dignity In Dying – Of all the nine charities, I think this is the only one where I wouldn’t expect everyone to support it. It’s very much a preference of mine, but one I understand will not be shared by everyone. Having worked in end of life care a few years ago, the topic of assisted dying has been something I am very much in favour of. This campaign fights for the rights of people who are terminally ill to end their lives on their own terms, with complete control. My intention is not to start a debate (we could be here forever!), but just to state my reasoning behind supporting such a cause.

I’m excited to tell you we have also registered the club with the new East Herts Lottery scheme, where ticket sales are split between East Herts and ourselves! So, the more tickets we sell, the more money we have to fund more lunches! Watch this space for more information.

A huge thank you again to all of our volunteers who honestly work so incredibly hard each month. Some travel such a long way to help us and we are so so grateful. This month has been particularly stressful, having just moved to a new house. The support has been fantastic, with me relying on our volunteers more than ever this month while I got myself in order.

See you on Sunday 3rd February!