Big turnout for festive lunch


Seventy elderly Torbay residents have enjoyed a tasty turkey Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, thanks to a joint effort by local organisations.

The slap-up meal at the Windmill Centre in Hele, Torquay, was laid on by Torbay Council street wardens in partnership with Sanctuary Housing, Age UK, Watcombe and Blatchcombe Community Partnerships and Hele’s Angels.

Street warden Gavin Dyer said: "It was great to see so many happy, smiling faces as our guests tucked into their meal, which also included soup, Christmas pudding and mince pies.

"When we organised the first community lunch two years ago eight older people came along. Last year we catered for 32 guests, and this year we are proud to say we served up a treat for 70 people.

"We brought together older residents from three areas of Torbay -- Hele, Watcombe and Paignton. We believe this interaction between people from various communities enabled them to share experiences and ideas in a positive social environment.

"We also took the opportunity to talk to residents about what social activities they would like to take part in and what support they need to make life easier for them.

"The lunch also provided us with an opportunity to make available a wealth of information leaflets on such things as financial advice, energy saving tips, healthy eating, how to access services and how to stay safe this winter."

Sanctuary Housing representatives used the event to promote a befriending scheme for older people and seek the residents’ opinions to ensure they are properly consulted with and their feedback acted upon.

Everyone who attended the lunch also received a hamper full of winter goodies including hand warmers, tins of soup, vegetables and appropriate information leaflets, and a raffle was held with proceeds going to Age UK.

Torbay Council's Executive Lead for Involved and Healthy Communities, Cllr Alison Hernandez, said: "This is exactly what working together for our community is all about, bringing together people from across the Bay to share stories and advice over some festive food in a community building.

"It was great to speak with so many mature residents with a wealth of history of Torbay. I certainly learnt a thing or two! Thanks to all those who sponsored the event, Sanctuary Housing, Hele's Angels and Community Partnerships."