“A Place To Belong…”

A charity which provides activities and services to vulnerable and elderly people in Ainsdale in Merseyside has benefitted from a three-year grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Ainsdale Lunch and Leisure is now two years into the £74, 250 grant which is linked to the role of a manager of the charity who oversees the daily operation of all the services that are delivered.

This role has proved vital in ensuring the charity can continue to developing the health and wellbeing activities for people in the community and helping reduce isolation.

“The funding provided enables us to enhance the quality of life to the people accessing our services and this has had a positive impact on their health and wellbeing,” said Rebecca Gomersall, manager at Ainsdale Lunch and Leisure.

“The role is responsible for the line management of staff and the recruitment and training of volunteers. 

“This includes a busy catering department which operates a café, lunch club and hot meals delivery service, a charity shop to raise funds and the development of a wide range of health and wellbeing activities. 

“The overall objective of the charity is to tackle isolation and loneliness in the community and it is the manager’s responsibility to effectively source resources to implement this objective and successfully deliver its aims.

“Without the funding received we would not have been able to develop the health and wellbeing activities that have been delivered. 

“These activities have enabled people in the community to participate in activities that have enabled them to cope with isolating situations, often when people have found themselves bereaved. 

“This has been beneficial as people attending have grown in confidence and being with others has assisted with their social skills.”

As well as the catering, shop and meals on wheels services provided by the charity, Ainsdale Lunch and Leisure also deliver a wide range of other activities including sequence dancing, art, bowls, tai chi, line dancing, creative crafts and games.

The charity also uses the skills of many volunteers, including unemployed people with learning difficulties whose engagement with the project enables them to increase their confidence and improve their interpersonal and organisational abilities.

“Our footfall, range of activities and number of volunteers demonstrates that people enjoy being part of our community,” added Rebecca.

“Many of our volunteers have special needs and yet have volunteered for us for over 20 years. 

“We offer a variety of training opportunities generally covering health & safety which covers requirements needed alongside interesting talks, and this gives our volunteers and members the necessary confidence in their roles, creates a sense of belonging and increases knowledge and enjoyment.

“Many who attend Lunch and Leisure have told us how important the activities and ‘having a place to belong’ means to them. 

“They have expressed how important it is to be able to share and engage with others who have been in similar situations of bereavement and loneliness and many have said it has been a lifeline in a time where they had no one else to turn to for company.

“People have expressed how good it is to have such a variety of activities on offer and this is beneficial to the community attracting many who are in need.”

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