New luncheon club to ‘rise from the ashes’

A new luncheon club for the elderly has been established after a popular long-running group ended because of council cuts.

Volunteer Paul Weatherill is hoping the New Lunch Club starting at the Watton Sports and Social Club on Wednesday, November 7, will 'rise from the ashes' after the Wayland Hall Luncheon Club finished at the end of September.

Mr Weatherill, 58, from Watton, said: 'Hopefully people will support it because it is about having that local connection. The older people don't want to lose their comradeship.

'It is very important to have something like this in the town. The closure of Wayland Hall Luncheon Club was such a great loss for the town. The people who used it have known their friends for years and it was the only time they could get together.'

It is hoped the New Lunch Club, run by four volunteers, will meet on the first Wednesday of each month and a two course meal, cooked by sports centre staff, will cost �5.99 per day. Tea and coffee will be free.

Bingo sessions will also be held at the club and it is hoped travel arrangements will be organised.

Wayland Hall Luncheon Club, which met Monday to Friday, had been based at Wayland Hall since 1980 but Norfolk County Council financial cuts caused it to finish.

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The charity received just over �22,000 each year from the council and provided a hot dinner for up to 16 people from Watton and the surrounding villages per day Monday to Friday.

These funds paid for a meals-on-wheels service, which started in 1971, for up to 24 people Monday to Friday and three members of staff at the club – Mrs Ahuja, a cook and assistant cook.

In April the county council pulled out of providing meals itself after cutting its �1.2m a year subsidy for the meals.

Plans were put in place for people who got their meals from the service to use their personal budgets to buy dinners from selected companies.

If you want to help at the new club, fundraising or just want to come along, ring Mr Weatherill on 01953 884213.