Volunteers from The Southern Co-operative cooked up a feast for the Royal Voluntary Service lunch club in Liss and Rowlands Castle (Hampshire) as an early Christmas treat for their members and volunteers.
Around 60 lunch club members and volunteers in Liss and 20 in Rowlands Castle tucked into roast beef with all the trimmings followed by mince pies and cream, donated by The Southern Co-operative. Chairman Mike Hastilow, together with Chief Executive Mark Smith, Board Directors and colleagues from The Southern Co-operative stores in Liphook, Clanfield, Tipner, its central support office in Portsmouth and the Bereavement Centre worked together to prepare, cook and serve lunch then clear away and wash up. Mark said: “Our business is not only about running convenience food stores and funeral branches; as a co-operative we aspire to make a positive difference locally and volunteering is an important aspect of our community support. We actively encourage colleagues to get involved and offer their help to local good causes all year round. For the past few years we have worked with local organisations to serve Christmas lunch and bring some festive cheer to those who may not enjoy the luxuries at this time of year that many of us take for granted.” Mark added: “The stalwart RVS volunteers also deserve a break from cooking, serving and washing up too so we invited them to enjoy lunch with their members and let us do their work for a change!”
Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) is a volunteer organisation that enriches the lives of older people and their families across Britain. They support older people by giving time and practical help to help them get the best from life.
Liss RVS volunteer, Jenny Hance, explained: “Liss has an above average elderly population, many of whom have lived in the village most of their lives. Liss Luncheon Club has been running for 33 years and every Thursday, the club provides the opportunity for 50 – 60 elderly people to get out of their homes and meet their friends at Liss Village Hall whilst enjoying a first class hot lunch. The club is run entirely by a committed volunteer team, who give many hours of their time to preparing and serving appetising and nourishing lunches which are freshly cooked freshly on the premises using local suppliers wherever possible.” She added: “The Southern Co-operative’s help also gave some of our volunteers a well earned rest as we operative 50 weeks of the year. We have 23 volunteers who cook, do veg, lay tables, make tea and coffee and of course, wash and wipe up which is amazing for a small village!”
Children from Puddleducks Nursery in Liss and St John’s School in Rowlands Castle entertained guests with Christmas carols. Liss RVS members Olive Moodie and Joan Kemp enthused; “We’ve absolutely loved it; it’s been Christmas Day for us both today.” Joan added: My only treat is to come to the RVS lunch club and I’ve been coming every week for 15 years. I get picked up and meet all my friends here. We wouldn’t miss it for anything.”
Find out more at royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk