'Banquet & Meal Share' is to do something very special for seniors living in Bristol.
It’s estimated there are 3.2 million malnourished people in the UK of which 1.3 million are aged over 65. There are lots of reasons for this; low incomes, loss of personal mobility, fading appetites due to illness, difficulty with chewing and swallowing food, feeling lonely and depressed following the loss of a loved one, but the main underlying cause for many is isolation.
Some elderly people feel there’s nothing to look forward to any more, but our answer is ‘TMTP Banquet Club’ and ‘TMTP Meal Share’ programmes.
Every fortnight we bring 32 elderly neighbours to a local venue for Banquet Club in four areas of Bristol. Venues used range from modern, accessible community centres to residential home common rooms. After everyone has enjoyed a nutritious two course lunch, our community links coordinator, run activities; sing-a-longs, tea dances, cards, bingo or who knows, speed dating! if requested.
Our secret ingredient is our team of trained volunteer Care Companions available to help people throughout the day from door to door.
Fortnightly, our Care Companions take a pre-prepared ’Meal Share' for two (from the same menu as Banquet Club) to eight elderly house-bound residents, staying to eat with them and after to read aloud, play music and games or just have a good natter. It will be the same friendly face arriving at the door each week.
We charge each Banquet Club or Meal Share participant £5 a session (if they can afford it) as we also need to buy in fresh meat, ﬁsh and dairy produce and fruit and vegetables to supplement weekly supplies of store cupboard food kindly donated to TMTP.
The service is open to all elderly local residents, and our hope is that participants will come to lead happier and more fulfilled lives because there will be something to look forward to each fortnight; getting out of the house to enjoy themselves; sharing laughter, chatting, dancing, making new friends, meeting old friends, singing, and going home feeling well fed after a good lunch. We hope our elderly friends will feel a little less lonely and isolated and, with our well-being programmes on hand, we can also provide help with managing household bills, apply for crisis grants, and malnutrition screening and dietary advice for those underweight. The nutritious food will help build up malnourished folks strength, and we will promote participation onto our cookery and nutrition courses.