“I don’t know what I’d do without it” - those were the words of one member of Abbey House Luncheon Club in Derry as the service announced it provided almost 4,000 meals to local older people last year alone.
The service, delivered by Apex Housing Association, was first established more than 25 years ago and offers nutritious three course meals, five days a week from Abbey House in the Little Diamond area of the city.
Anyone aged 55 or over can join the Luncheon Club, with many members also availing of the free transport service provided for those living within two miles of Abbey House.
The service also provides takeaway meals for older people who may be sick or have mobility problems.
Kevin Doherty has been a member for the last 18 months and goes to Abbey House five times a week from his home in Donal Casey Court, a Choice Housing sheltered scheme located next to Templemore Sports Complex on the Buncrana Road.
“During a stay in hospital, healthcare staff were worried about how I would look after myself when I got home as I don’t cook; and recommended the luncheon club.
“The food is very good; the casseroles and stews are my favourite and they do fish every Friday.
“But the main benefit is the company, it gets you out of the house and I’ve made many friends here. I get picked up by the Apex bus and left home too; you couldn’t ask for a better service.”
Eileen White has been attending the Luncheon Club for the last six years, getting the Apex minibus every weekday from her home in Alexander House, an Apex sheltered scheme in Bishop Street.
Having raised a family of five children, Eileen cooked for seven people most of her life; but after her husband died, she found she disliked having to cook for just herself.
“I can’t fault the food and the staff are very good; if you don’t like something they’ll change it for you.
“First and foremost, it’s about the company. I’ve got to know so many people and twice a week I leave from the Luncheon Club and go to older people’s clubs in the Gasyard and Brandywell.
“Anyone living on their own should join a Luncheon Club. It’s a long day sitting by yourself in the house; the club has allowed me to meet so many people. I don’t know what I’d do without it.”
“In addition to those who attend the club in Abbey House, the service also provides takeaway meals for local people who may be sick or have mobility issues.”
John O’Kane says the service has been a ‘God send’ for his mother who broke her hip last year and as a result wasn’t able to cook for herself.
“The doctor was concerned about her losing weight and her carers suggested we might be interested in getting meals from the Luncheon Club.
“At the time, she was very frail, but now she gets her meals brought to her every day by her carers, has put on weight and looks a lot better for it.
“The meals are very high quality and my mother enjoys them – especially the desserts. As I work full-time, I wasn’t able to cook for her every day so this service has been a God send.”
Donna Matthewson, from Apex Housing Association, said: “It’s wonderful to hear so many positive experiences of the Luncheon Club in Abbey House. Not only does the service provide nutritious and high quality meals for local older people, it offers an opportunity for friends – new and old – to come together five days a week for a chat and a bit of craic.
“Unfortunately, social isolation and loneliness can be a problem faced by many older people. We’re proud that our Luncheon Club goes some way to prevent that locally, and hope its membership will only grow in numbers.”
A meal from Abbey House Luncheon Club ranges from £3 to £4.40, depending on the number of courses and free transport is provided for those living within a two mile radius of the scheme.
If you’re interested in learning more about Luncheon Club, (including the takeaway service, telephone Abbey House on 028 7126 2385 or email email@example.com.
Abbey House Luncheon Club
The Luncheon Club is open Monday to Friday 12.30pm – 1.30pm, providing up to three courses for its members.
A three course meal costs £4.40, a two course meal costs £3.40 and a one course meal costs £3.00.
The Luncheon Club provided approximately 3,900 meals during 2019.
Transport is offered to anyone living within two miles of Abbey House and is free of charge. It provides a means for most residents to easily access the service without paying for taxi service. Apex drivers are aware of all their passengers’ routines and will alert if someone didn’t appear, cancel or appear not well. The drivers can also deliver meals to those that cannot leave their home.
Contact Abbey House on 028 7126 2385 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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