Warm hub funders see Eastlea’s volunteers in action

Warm hub funders see Eastlea’s volunteers in action

“It’s changed my life, thank you.”

Those are the words of Jacqui Williams, summing up the impact a weekly lunch club run by volunteers and funded by Believe Housing has had on her life.

Jacqui lives alone in Seaham and since visiting EastleaCommunity Centre, on the town’s Stockton Road, every Thursday she’s discovered that a free hot meal is  served with a side dish of friendship.

She said: “I’m quite shy but, when I’ve come here, I’ve met a lot of new friends. “We’ve laughed and I can’t really thank everybody enough.

“The volunteers are brilliant, and Believe is doing a wonderful job. I’m really, really grateful. 

“It has changed my life, thank you.”

In November, Believe Housing awarded a £9,662 large revenue community grant from its community investment programme to the centre’s Community Comfort initiative.

Building on an existing lunch club and the idea of warm hubs, which helped people with the cost-of-living crisis over the winter, volunteers began holding activities for those attending.

Now, about 40 people regularly turn up to enjoy a free two-course meal followed by a cuppa and biscuits, support, and activities such as bingo and curling.

The grant has enabled volunteers to provide a hot and nutritious meal for people who might not pay for or prepare one for themselves, particularly those who are older or live alone.

It also paid for 30 slow cookers and recipe books to be given to members.

Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Rachel Edmunds was among colleagues from Believe Housing’s community investment team who took time out of their day jobs recently to help in the kitchen.