January 30, 2023

Ladies do lunch! Every month!

Meet a fantastic team of women who put on a big lunch for 60 people every month. Each of them gives their time freely to the Love Dereham charity.

The team is headed up by Susan Yaxley, who spent her career in catering, who has the skill and knowledge to prepare food suited for vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.

Susan explains, “some of the food comes from the community fridge – for example we might have a glut of apples, so we make apple crumble with custard. Some of the ingredients have to be bought in specially, but I am happy to say that we have some fantastic local suppliers like Morrisons, Tesco and Tony Perkins butchers who either donate food or provide it at cost when they know it’s for charity.”

“We are limited to 60 people, “ explains co-ordinator Athena Poole. “So that we know how many are coming, we ask people to get a ticket from Green Pastures or the community fridge.”

“The meal is completely free”, she says, “and we can only do it thanks to our fantastic volunteers. We need people to prepare the food, cook and serve the cooked meal, set out the tables and clear away and, of course, help with washing and putting away. You need to like people – there’s a real buzz and a strong sense of community.”

If you would like to help, contact Athena (details below).

Why do the volunteers give their time in this way? We asked Susan, Hydie, Morgan and Ruth. They said:

Susan and volunteer
Susan Yaxley (L) and a volunteer
  • It’s really rewarding. One gent arrived early and we chatted while I was peeling spuds! You know what? If I stayed at home, I would be all alone as my partner works away. It’s much better to come out and be part of something worthwhile.
  • You see a need and you want to help, don’t you? It’s about giving your time to something that’s useful and appreciated and makes a difference.
  • It’s like a family. Everyone gets to know each other and they all feel part of it. People talk to each other – no-one is left out. They all support each other, as well.
  • I enjoy cooking and I enjoy the companionship. Since I retired, I missed the buzz of going to work and the stimulation of working with colleagues.
lunch preparation
Hydie (centre) and volunteers prepare food

That’s 65 or more very happy people leaving the Baptist Church Hall every second Tuesday. The next lunch is Valentine’s Day – it’s a perfect fit for ‘Love Dereham’.

Please contact Athena if you want to help. 07749 687981

Or if you cannot come along, you can donate a few £ here – and every £ you give will be matched by another £ from the Co-op.

All the funds raised go towards one of the Love Dereham projects. To find out more, see: