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Call for volunteers from threatened Wayland Hall Luncheon Club, in Watton

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 March 2012

Wayland Luncheon Club members protest about the possible closure because  of council cuts, in front of Wayland Hall. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Wayland Luncheon Club members protest about the possible closure because of council cuts, in front of Wayland Hall. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Archant © 2012 01603 772434

A long-running luncheon club which is under threat of closure will “sink in the water” unless volunteers come forward, a trustee has warned.

The Wayland Hall Luncheon Club charity, which has been based at Wayland Hall, Middle Street, Watton, since 1980, will lose its Norfolk County Council funding on September 30.

Each year the charity has received just over £22,000 which provides a hot dinner for up to 16 people per day, Monday to Friday.

The funds also provide a meals-on-wheels service, which started in 1971, to up to 24 people Monday to Friday and pays for three full-time staff at the hall – a co-ordinator, cook and assistant cook.

About 80 people, including Norfolk County Council representatives, Watton town councillors and members of the club, attended a meeting at Watton Youth and Community Centre on Thursday.

After the debate Margaret Holmes, luncheon club trustee and town councillor, said: “Until we get these volunteers and additional support we are sunk in the water. Unless people come forward there will be no luncheon club.”

She added that a member of the county council would speak with people who attend the club about personal budgets.

The council is pulling out of providing meals itself next month after cutting its annual £1.2m a year subsidy for the meals.

People who get their meals from the service will need to use their personal budgets to buy dinners from a list of selected companies.

The council’s decision to switch to commissioning private companies to provide the meals was made during the Big Conversation, which identified £155m of savings in 2010.

Currently two courses, served at Wayland Hall or through the meals-on-wheels service, cost £3.24 per day but after the financial cuts the elderly members will be forced to pay £8 per day for a non-subsidised service.

Ms Holmes said that the club was fully supported by Watton Town Council, which hires out the hall for free to the charity.

If you would like to become a volunteer or trustee for the luncheon club call co-ordinator Laura Aheja on 01953 882452.

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