Five star rating for community lunch club

Published on Wednesday, 20 January, 2016

A lunch club that has been feeding the residents of Cornelly for the past 30 years has been awarded the highest food hygiene rating by the Food Standards Agency.Cornelly Luncheon Club

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Volunteers who run the Cornelly Luncheon Club at the Cornelly Community Centre were over the moon when they heard the news.

To many people like club secretary Diane Spanswick, the lunch club, has been a lifeline or as she puts it, “the glue that binds our community”.  In an association with the voluntary venture that has spanned over three decades Diane has witnessed the good times and the bad.

Commenting she said, “When I first became involved in what was then called the Over 60s Club, more than a hundred people would come to lunch in one sitting. Who could blame them, the food was good, the portions were generous and the price was even better. They were wonderful occasions. We had music and dancing and the Christmas party was something that everyone looked forward to. But as the years passed, our numbers dwindled and sadly a lot of friends and former club members are no longer with us.

“For a lot of older people isolation is a big problem. A meal is always a good way of bringing people together for some convivial conversation and to feel connected. But more than that, a lot of families in Cornelly – an area of social deprivation – appreciate the fact that they can come to us for an affordable and nutritious meal.”

She added, “We’ve had some great support from Bridgend Communities First and other partners such as the Big Lottery Fund, Kenfig Trust, Cornelly Community Council and of course our wonderful volunteers. We’ve also got a brand new kitchen which has given everyone a lift. 10 of our volunteers recently passed a food safety course run by Bridgend Communities First. I’m sure that this played a big part in the excellent food hygiene rating that we got from the Food Standards Agency.

“Although our numbers have fallen to about forty people, I’m optimistic for the future which rests with some of our younger members like Helen Davies who embarked upon a career as a Health Care Support Worker after first coming here in 2011.”

Helen, one of those who recently passed the food safety course said, “I came along in 2011 with the intention of staying for a fortnight covering for someone who was on holiday. I’d never cooked before but two weeks didn’t seem too daunting. But I loved working with the other volunteers and helping some of our elderly members.  I soon realised that this is what I wanted to do for a living. I now work at Morriston Hospital and continue as a volunteer at the lunch club. I’ve made it my mission to get my friends and the younger generation of Cornelly involved in the club.”

That community spirit is best summed up by the words of 90 year-old Mary Wilson a regular at the luncheon club who said, “I’ve lived in this area all my life, like my father before me who built the houses opposite this centre. We are Cornelly!”