Blue Bell Winter Warmer Lunch Club
To attract men aged 50 plus to take part in affordable, informal communal social eating in an environment they knew, liked and in which they felt secure.
We already knew that the Joseph Holt Blue Bell pub was popular with this older men in the community so we arranged to meet with the landlord to better understand attendance issues likely to affect our target group, such as the importance of informality and self-initiation.
During our discussions, we learned that there had previously been a local lunch club at the pub that had proved popular to older men, but which had to stop a few years owing to the lack of a good hygiene certification for the church hall in which it was held.
Thanks to the landlord’s generosity and assistance, it was agreed that a new lunch club could start meeting at the Blue Bell, where certification would no longer be a problem. We continued to work closely with the landlord to launch an informal fortnightly lunch club over the winter of 2016.
The funding agreed covered the cost of food, advertising and an entertainer for each session, with the organisers collecting donations to fund next year’s lunch club.
We were lucky to be able to learn a lot very quickly from previous experiences of running a local lunch club in same the area. Most importantly we were made aware of, and completely respected, the requirement for an informal setting to which older men could present themselves by way of a personal choice, rather than being officially or forcibly ‘recruited’. It was, we learned, very significant for them that coming to the lunch club had to be 100% their own decision in order to establish commitment and continuity.
WHAT’S GOT BETTER
Social isolation in the area has been significantly alleviated, with all events held to date being very well attended, resulting in some 78 older people attending the Christmas session in December 2017.
Not only can the men enjoy meeting and making new friends in an informal, convivial, familiar setting, but the food provided is very nutritional and excellent value for money. Members of the lunch club said they actively looked forward to meeting up and that they felt they genuinely belonged to a community.
After the funding for this project had been spent, the Joseph Holt Brewery agreed to continue funding the project throughout 2017.
The local Moston Meadows residents association will continue to support the project by doing some advertising and providing the transport for people to get to the pub. They association has also helped to spread the word to lunch club members about other social events that could be of interest.
MAFN Project Coordinator, General Enquiries