Lunch is served once again at Mayfair Centre in Church Stretton

Lunch clubs, daytime activities and face-to-face support services for the vulnerable were all put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

Volunteer Madeline Egan serving food
Volunteer Madeline Egan serving food

But as community centres open up, the vital support services they offer have restarted and those who use them are able to once again see their friends and enjoy some company.

Mayfair Centre, in Church Stretton, is a lifeline to the local community, offering essential services to some of the area's most vulnerable communities.

The centre restarted its popular lunch club last month and is now back up and running relatively normally, although they were still operating out of the pandemic with a Mayfair meals delivery service.

All Stretton resident Pam Rothery arrives by the transport services at Mayfair Community Centre

Holly Beaumont, publicity offer at Mayfair, said that clients have been overjoyed to be welcomed back and that volunteers were happy to be able to interact again.

"Our regulars are rediscovering us, which is good," she said. "It's a way of seeing each other, socialising and getting to meet new people, really.

"A lot of our clients really look forward to coming to Mayfair to meet up with friends and the volunteers as well. It's just a great social opportunity to meet over some good food.

"Our kitchen staff prepare meals and there is no issue with food waste as we are trying to be more environmentally-friendly in many ways.

Layla Emin from Bishop's Castle chopping carrots at Mayfair

"We have been doing our Mayfair meals throughout the pandemic, and the numbers for that increased a lot over the last year as hot meals and interaction became important to people. Home-cooked food delivered to their doors became a lifeline for many."

The centre's lunch club scheme is a great way for those in the local community to meet up and enjoy full table service with a tasty meal cooked up just for them.

Full Covid-19 safety measures are in place, which bosses hope will allow visitors to feel safe and relaxed during their time at Mayfair, and Holly said many people made a point of telling them how glad they were to be back.

Reservations for the lunch club can be made in advance for Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as fish and chip Fridays – this can also be delivered to people's homes if preferred.

Martin Wilson from Bishop's Castle washing up cooking utensils

The centre offers much more, including the use of the Beacon centre which helps a wealth of people and offers vital support.

Holly said: "The Beacon centre, located at Mayfair, offers activities and day care services to a number of people, including those with support needs, or mobility issues or who need mental health support – there is no age range.

"There is a wide range of people catered for by the Beacon. The schemes on offer help deal with very real issues like social isolation and people who have not crossed the digital divide. We are able to reach out and help support them but also offer a social connection.

Jacquie Pearson - volunteer at the Health and Wellbeing Centre at Mayfair

"Nearly every single person we've seen has said what a joy it is to be back and how much they are looking forward to seeing their friends again.

"Even with things like Mayfair meals that operated during the pandemic, it was limited contact. Volunteers could stop for a quick chat on the doorstep, but had other meals to deliver, so it's great for the volunteers as well that it's back open and they're able to have longer chats with clients."

The centre is hoping to build up its client base again gradually and hopes the lunch club will hit its stride with new members wanting to join.

Volunteers Louise Dowbiggin and Madeline Egan

To make a booking, phone Mayfair reception on 01694 722077. The menu may be subject to change, so please check what’s on offer at the point of calling.

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