Councillors step in to pay for weekly meal at Age Concern New Forest

Daily Echo: Pensioners' lunch club lifeline saved Pensioners' lunch club lifeline saved

THEY are the lifeline for elderly residents across a Hampshire town.

But when New Forest District Council said they would be withdrawing their funding, organisers were worried Totton’s two lunch clubs would have to close.

Now their future is secure for another year after two New Forest councillors stepped in to save it.

Age Concern New Forest has run the central and west Totton lunch clubs for 40 years, but earlier this year they were told that they would stop receiving funding to run the clubs from April 2014 because of council cut backs.

But councillors David Harrison and Chris Lagdon, who represent Totton on Hampshire County Council, stepped in and gave the clubs the £5,000 from their community engagement funds, allowing it to continue providing 40 residents a weekly two-course meal until March 2015.

Jean Adams, CEO of Age Concern New Forest, said: “It’s important because for a lot of these people it’s the only hot meal they have with friends all week. It’s a lifeline to a lot of them.”

Cllr David Harrison, said: “We were both shocked and horrified when we found out that New Forest District Council were withdrawing the funding for the two lunch clubs in Totton, which were provided by Age Concern New Forest.

“Chris and I both know how much this service is highly valued and we wanted to support it.

“In the longer term we hope Hampshire County Council will fully fund it and give it a secure future.”

Cllr Chris Lagdon said: “Modern society is judged by the way we look after our elderly residents, but at this moment in time it just amazes me that New Forest District Council are failing miserably.

“During this year both myself and David will be doing all we can to help Jean get full funding to allow the service to carry on from wherever we can get it.”

The west Totton lunch club meets for a two-course meal every Monday at the West Totton Centre in Hazel Road and the central Totton lunch club meets at Totton and Eling Community Centre in Library Road on Tuesdays.

Comments (2)

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12:13pm Sat 21 Dec 13

magssoton says...

My parents attend a lunch club near them and they love the time with like minded people. These groups are the only times some of the people get out. pensioners deserve to have these clubs.
My parents attend a lunch club near them and they love the time with like minded people. These groups are the only times some of the people get out. pensioners deserve to have these clubs. magssoton

8:24pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Writers Cramp says...

I am absolutely disgusted at the treatment of our elderly community. This for some IS A LIFELINE - or are we all about creating a 'community of recluses' so to speak. I wrote to the NFDC Councillor concerned, inviting her to attend one of these clubs that SHE cut the funding from - guess what - she didn't answer that question. I asked her for the proportional cuts made to the largest town in the New Forest compared to other clubs (likely to be in more upper income brackets of the region ) - she didn't answer in her written response. Her answer was cold hearted and her decision was immovable. Its such a shame that people like this are allowed to rule in this way. Despite my political difference of opinion with Cllrs Harrison and Lagdon, this move shows a compassionate side that more should take notice of. Well done to both. Perhaps the good lady councillor of NFDC would consider re-instating the grants - for our ever ageing population - including them in our communities and not passing the blame over to Age Concern or Hampshire Council. I suspect she made do - but only in an election year !
I am absolutely disgusted at the treatment of our elderly community. This for some IS A LIFELINE - or are we all about creating a 'community of recluses' so to speak. I wrote to the NFDC Councillor concerned, inviting her to attend one of these clubs that SHE cut the funding from - guess what - she didn't answer that question. I asked her for the proportional cuts made to the largest town in the New Forest compared to other clubs (likely to be in more upper income brackets of the region ) - she didn't answer in her written response. Her answer was cold hearted and her decision was immovable. Its such a shame that people like this are allowed to rule in this way. Despite my political difference of opinion with Cllrs Harrison and Lagdon, this move shows a compassionate side that more should take notice of. Well done to both. Perhaps the good lady councillor of NFDC would consider re-instating the grants - for our ever ageing population - including them in our communities and not passing the blame over to Age Concern or Hampshire Council. I suspect she made do - but only in an election year ! Writers Cramp

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