Appeal for lunch club volunteers

Brian Spychala ' volunteer at St Swithun's Lunch Club
Brian Spychala ' volunteer at St Swithun's Lunch Club
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Wanted, ladies - and gents - who lunch.

Lunch clubs in Sheffield are having to close due to falling numbers of volunteers.

So far 10 clubs around the city have closed, and organisers say that unless there is an increase in the numbers of people who volunteer to run them, more clubs will follow.

The city has a network of 90 clubs currently active in the city, serving 77,000 meals per year to local older people.

But Voluntary Action Sheffield’s Lunch Clubs Development Worker, Maria Flude, is concerned a steady decline in club volunteers could jeopardise the future of some of them.

“Sheffield can be really proud of its strong lunch club network,” said Maria.

“However a recent drop in volunteer numbers has sadly resulted in some clubs having to close over the past 12 months.

“I know of at least 20 clubs that are in danger of closing in the next two to three years if new volunteers can’t be found.

“To put that into context, the impact of that would be that at least 400 older people in our city would lose this vital community service,” she said.

“A few hours spent at a lunch club can make a real difference to older people’s lives.

“As well as providing a healthy, homemade meal lunch clubs also provide informal help and support with health, social care and day-to-day needs.

“There are social and wellbeing benefits too, as a lunch club is often the only social interaction that some of the members may have.”

Lunch club volunteers are typically required one day a week to help prepare and serve meals, chat with club members, help to organise social activities, and maybe help with some paperwork too.

Brian Spychala has been volunteering at St Swithun’s Lunch Club and William Temple Lunch Club for four years.

He said: “Anyone who volunteers will experience real benefits for themselves.

“I get a lot out of volunteering at my clubs - you can really see that your help is making a real difference to someone’s life and is making them happy, which makes you happy.”

Call 0114 253 6698 for more details about getting involved.

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