Sophie Schranner interviews the Lunch Club ladies who have dedicated their time for 10 years to cook and serve affordable meals for residents at the Redmond Community Centre. 

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The pensioners love it. They even come there if it is raining, because for them it’s not just a hot meal. They come there to have fun, to chat, enjoy their selves and laugh. It is just like a big family with everyone being greeted individually, helped with problems and given information.

I came to the Redmond Community Centre for two weeks of work experience from 27 May to 6 June 2014.

While I was here I met the ladies of the Lunch Club, Lydia, Geraldine, Therese, Elaine and Maggie, all health champion volunteers.

Lydia started the Lunch Club about 10 years ago at the old Robin Redmond centre soon be joined by Maggie who has been helping there for at least 6 years now. Since the move to the new Redmond Community Centre in 2011, Geraldine, Therese and Elaine became established members of the team at the Lunch Club as well.

All of these women are doing that on a volunteer basis only charging £3 per meal to cover their costs. As they’re passionate in cooking and interested in the health of people and what they eat they love to do this to make sure the senior citizens have at least one hot, healthy meal a week.

Usually head chef Lydia chooses the menu but sometimes she calls Elaine to ask her and sometimes even the senior citizens express their wishes. For some time now they have had a list where Maggie notes down what they have cooked and when. Since they have had this, there hasn’t been the same meal cooked twice.

As I asked what the most complicated meal was they’ve ever cooked Lydia answered “There is no complicated meal. It’s just becoming complex if we cook a meal that’s not traditional or has got many different ingredients (e. g. the vegetable lasagne we had once). But we like trying out new things and untraditional meals.”

As they have been cooking together for such a long time now, the atmosphere between them is great and they know very well what they have to do. They’re exchanging their experiences they gained.

Elaine told me: “We’re even doing the catering for people hiring rooms in the RCC. We have been doing that for even up to 300 people.”

Geraldine added: “Of course we don’t only meet for Lunch Club. Sometimes we go out to have dinner together, to chat and have fun.”

Of course it doesn’t go well all the time! Therese explained: “One day a piece of chicken fell down at the back of the oven and nobody noticed it. So it started to burn in and smell and it took ages to find out where the smell came from.”

The nicest compliment they can get is that the staff is friendly, the food is good and that the presentation is very nice. Lydia says:

“There once was a lady who gave me a big hug without having even tasted the food, just because of the presentation.”