Lunch club celebrates 50 years of service with visit form MP
published on 18 Oct 2023
Local MP visits lunch club as it celebrates fifty years of service to community
A Stockport lunch club celebrated half a century of serving the Heaton Norris community with tea, cake and a visit from a special guest.
Member of Parliament for Stockport, Navendu Mishra, was welcomed into The Salvation Army’s weekly luncheon club to celebrate the milestone anniversary of 50 years at the church and community centre located on Short Street. The club meets every Wednesday at 12:00 pm for a two course, homecooked meal and refreshments.
The initiative, which was established in 1973, allows The Salvation Army to integrate with its local community and offer a substantial, affordable meal at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is seeing more people than ever pushed into poverty and struggle to afford the basics like food and household energy. The lunch club also breaks down barriers and reaches people who feel vulnerable, isolated, and alone providing a meeting place and a friendly shoulder or ear.
Run by The Salvation Army, the lunch club is staffed by volunteers. David, 84 from Stockport, has been rolling up his sleeves and volunteering as a kitchen porter at the lunch club for more than 30 years. He said: “I really enjoy working in the kitchen, I first started when I retired from teaching motor vehicle studies. I’ve always said I only do it for the fun of it but it is actually more than that because over the years we have been able to help people with a variety of problems. The lunch club also provides a warm and friendly space where people can have a chat and find someone to listen to their problems. It is much more than giving a lunch.”
Mr Mishra enjoyed a two-course hot meal followed by cake and The Salvation Army’s church leader, Lieutenant Nazia Yousaf, took the opportunity to present Mr Mishra with a letter about the church and charity’s work with survivors of modern slavery and its concerns about the new legislation on refugees which will affect the victims of human trafficking.
Nazia said: “The lunch club is a connection with our community and it is a testament to our community that is has celebrated its 50th year; a great achievement that all involved are proud of. We have people attend the lunch club that may feel alone at home, or isolated from the outside world due to disabilities or poor mental health; the lunch club provides a safe and welcoming space for all, allowing everyone to be themselves while building friendships and fellowship.
“It was also a privilege to take the opportunity to present our concerns to Mr Mishra about the new legislation affecting victims of human trafficking and modern slavery. The Salvation Army works to provide physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual support to everyone; a full holistic approach, as after all, faith isn’t complete if we don’t do it all.”
The Salvation Army has been a part of the Stockport Heaton Norris community for over 130 years, serving the most vulnerable members of the community and this winter it will open its doors as a warm space for people struggling with rising household energy bills.
Navendu Mishra, Member of Parliament for Stockport said: “I had a wonderful time joining The Salvation Army Heaton Norris to celebrate fifty years of The Salvation Army lunch club. As I discussed with staff, volunteers and service users, the lunch club brings people together over healthy, hearty meals, enjoyed in a safe and caring environment.
“It was great to learn more about this important initiative and the positive impact it has on people in our community, particularly in terms of reducing social isolation. I thank everyone at The Salvation Army for inviting me to this event, and for the vital support services that they provide for people in our town.”
The lunch club costs only £3 per person which includes a hot meal and teas and coffees and the full amount goes back into the running of the church, allowing The Salvation Army to continue its work within the Stockport community, like with the lunch club.
The Salvation Army has a Just Giving page, dedicated specifically to its work in Stockport Heaton Norris which can be found at www.justgiving.com/tsa-community-support-000082 and while donations of all sizes are welcome, people are encouraged to donate only what they can afford.