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Helping hand for lunch club

March 26, 2004 10:27 AM
Colin Taylor

Cllr Colin Taylor

The Brickfields Lunch Club has been reprieved, thanks to Colin Taylor. The club is run by Rethink, a charity that supports people with mental health problems. To ensure the club can continue into 2005, Colin provided more than £3,000 from his discretionary allocation as a County Councillor.

"The club had faced a doubtful future with a funding shortfall," said Joy Carey, service manager for Rethink in Surrey, who is working to secure a permanent income for the club from 2005 onward.

The club is run as a drop-in centre from 11am to 2pm every Saturday at the Brickfields Centre in Portland Place, Epsom. It provides lunches for just £2 in a friendly and informal social setting. It is open to all those with any kind of mental health problem, including depression and anxiety. There are also a couple of outings a year to the coast and into the countryside.

Joy Carey explained: "Weekends are a bad time for many people, because social services are closed. If you live alone it can be very difficult. You may not need help if there is something over the weekend, like our three-hour club. It can be a lifeline. Without the club, the alternative could be crisis care and short-term hospital stays, which are much more expensive than running the club."

The club aims to provide companionship, social interaction, guidance, activities and support for members. It also helps people who are leaving care and beginning to pick up their lives. Commented Joy: "We are not unlike an extended family. There is always room for more members. Some are referred to us from social services, but people can self-refer. Some people might need us only for a short time, others may attend for several years."

After visiting the club one Saturday, Colin Taylor said "It was very encouraging to meet the dedicated voluntary helpers who make this initiative such a success. I also had a chance for a quick chat with several club members, who seem to appreciate the facility very much and would certainly miss it if it closed."

"Each of the County Councillors in Epsom and Ewell have a modest cash allocation to be spent on local groups and projects, under the supervision of the local committee for the area. I was glad to be able to help the Brickfields Lunch Club, which is run in my Division."