Irthlingborough friends reunited as College Street Centre returns

Some members had not seen each other for 15 months

By Alison Bagley
Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 10:26 am

Members of an Irthlingborough lunch club have returned to their beloved centre 15 months after they were last together for a catch-up, a chat and light refreshments.

College Street Centre reopened its doors for the first time since the onset of the pandemic with friends being reunited after the enforced break due to Covid at the open day.

To ease her team back into their programme of lunches and activities that take place on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, organiser Janice Childs invited the community back to the centre.

Janice Childs with College Street Centre member Geoff Darby

Janice said: "They were so thrilled to be back again. Chatting over a cup of tea and scones and a catch up.

"I have missed being here. It's such a big part of my life. We have had quite a few of our older members come back."

Funded through a £5 annual fee, the centre was set up by the Irthlingborough Old People's Welfare Association in 1978, and runs a lunch club twice a week from 10.30am to 2pm. The team provides hearty hot home-cooked meals, friendly faces and entertainments and activities.

Their Monday Club from 9.30am to 2pm is for elderly and disabled people with morning coffee and lunch provided. Members can join in activities such as, gentle exercises or listen to guest speakers and provides members a break from their own home.

Time for a chat and a catch up

Geoff Darby, 81, had been a regular at the centre and looked forward to the lunchtime treats and the friends he's made.

He said: "I have missed coming - we nearly went bonkers. I got fed up of cooking. I'm glad to be back and I would like some nice corned beef hash."

Another regular, Jean Savage, had sat out the pandemic only seeing her friends through the windows as they walked past her drive or from her doorstep.

She said: "I have only been out five times in 15 months - two of those were for my jab - and this is one of them. This is the first time in 15 months seeing my friends.

Back in the College Street Centre

"I didn't see anyone in person, I could see people walking past but I haven't been lonely because I love knitting and reading."

Monday Club regular Christine Beard, 79, was also glad to be back with her friends.

She said: "It's been lovely to be able see them."

As well as the clients returning, the College Street Centre volunteers have returned to help but the group still needs more people to transport members, help cook and serve or become involved in the behind the scenes management. Membership has dropped due to people moving away, long-term illness and some lost to Covid.

Christine Beard was glad to be back

Charity chairman Janice said: "We have 32 paid up members but we have space for more when we return which will be in August. Anyone who would like to be a member or volunteer can get in touch with me."

To become a member or a volunteer please call Janice on 01933 681373 or email [email protected]

College Street Centre, Irthlingborough
Jean Savage had spent the pandemic knitting and reading