How a Northumberland lunch club is continuing through the lockdown
A community initiative in Coquetdale has taken its lunch club on the road during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Community Action Northumberland (CAN) Warm Hub in the Memorial Hall, Thropton, ordinarily meets for lunch, with outings and entertainment as well, on Thursdays.
With the onset of Covid-19, the team has now launched an on-the-move service, delivering almost 40 meals every Monday together with books, magazines, jigsaws and some treats, which included a toast for VE Day last week.
Vikki Ewen, who runs the Thropton Warm Hub, said: “We go to Hepple, Netherton, Bankhead, Thropton, Whitton and Rothbury. I use my car for ‘up the valley’ and the community car goes around Rothbury.
“Some people we deliver to have no other contact. The food is much enjoyed, but the natter on the doorstep is probably most appreciated.”
The service developed after Vikki was involved in setting up a community shopping scheme with Lesley Leeson, from Upper Coquetdale Community Transport, which started out delivering shopping for eight people, rising to 53 the following week and then 97, all bought from the Co-op in Rothbury.
The decision was then made to deliver soup, a fresh bread roll and pudding or cake, which was made possible by a £127 donation from CAN to buy soup mugs and £260 from the Community Foundation for more soup mugs and pudding containers.
“We have book trays and jigsaws which are enthusiastically used and swapped,” Vikki explained. “Best of all is a suitably distanced natter on the doorstep, for some people this is their only contact from one week to the next.”
A donation from some of the local parish councils meant that the initiative has been able to buy some treats – some puzzle books, a few new books, and postcards to send out.
Last week, it had been planned to have a wartime song singalong at lunch club for the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
Instead, this became a collective act of remembrance by handing out a small bottle of wine (or J2O) and some chocolates along with an invitation to take part in last Friday’s collective Nation’s Toast.