Increased socialisation through Lunch Clubs

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

In respect of Older People a development plan had been produced by the statutory agencies prior to RCOP. This included a proposed focus to improve socialisation and reduce isolation for Older People living in North Ayrshire.

What you did?

It was decided a network of Lunch Clubs would be developed in North Ayrshire to help address the issues highlighted in the development plan. This project was led by Development Workers employed by the TSI North Ayrshire.

A sum of £30,000 was allocated to be used to provide seed-corn funding for this plan. This was distributed to Lunch Clubs as a small grants scheme. The scheme was managed and administered by the TSI North Ayrshire and was subject to a maximum award of £3000 per lunch club. Through this scheme 13 Lunch Clubs received funding.

The first phase of the project involved setting up a steering group to look at the funding criteria for the small grant scheme. The steering group agreed a criteria and the Development Workers initially focused on existing Lunch Club provision in North Ayrshire and using the available funds to develop these. 8 pre-existing lunch clubs received money from RCOP to help develop their service. A further 5 new lunch clubs were allocated money and given assistance by the Development Workers to set up. A Lunch Club Good Practice guide was also developed by the Development Workers and has been distributed.

The primary focus for this year is the development of Lunch clubs in Sheltered housing complexes. The current direction of travel is that 3 Sheltered Housing units in North Ayrshire will to be used to host Lunch Clubs and act as Hubs. These Hubs will link with other housing units in surrounding areas accommodating attendees from a total of 9 Sheltered housing units. The intention is to extend out to Care at Home service users and the wider community surrounding each “hub”. Partnerships are being formed with the RVS, who will be the co-ordinators for the project, and meetings are taking place with the Care at Home managers and SPT to look at the best way for the community to access the new Lunch Clubs. It is thought that after this development there will be a further 1 more Sheltered Housing Hub set up in the Largs area. Along side this we are also considering the possibility of allowing existing Lunch Clubs to further develop, providing they can demonstrate either growth or addressing inequalities. This might be through providing more days, increasing numbers, addressing inequalities or moving to 2 sittings a day.

Community Connectors (see Example of Practice) will play a role by attending the clubs to provide information and advice and possibly arrange for organisations to go along and talk about services that they can provide.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

An increase in the number of Older People are attending lunch clubs and thus increasing socialisation. They are enjoying a good meal and meeting other people. On many occasions carers are escorting an attendee along and it has been reported that they find the socialisation and meeting new people of benefit also. Activities are being run in many of the Clubs before and after which is providing entertainment to the older people also. A customer satisfaction survey was devised by the development worker as a way of monitoring the success of the clubs. Out of the 86 completed, 72 scored the lunch clubs that they attend as excellent, the other 14 scored them as good

Contacts - to find out more

Jim Nichols,  01770 600611