At the Ross-on-Wye annual parish meeting, March 2, clubs and societies in Ross which had received town council funding delivered their reports to press and public, one of which was the Ross Lunch Club.

The Ross-on-Wye Lunch Club is a family of 40 members, ranging in age from 65 to 95, who come together every Friday for a delicious home-cooked meal, tea, coffee, and plenty of laughter. Sarah O’Neill, who has been running the group for the past four years with a team of 20 volunteers, ensures that every member of the group feels welcomed, supported, and valued.

The group’s ethos is that every member is part of the family, and they go above and beyond to make sure that their weekly meetings are filled with fun activities, stimulating conversations, and delicious food. Referrals come from GP’s, social services, Ross CDT, or social media, and many members travel in from New Forest, Dean, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire.

The Ross Action Bus brings in 10-12 members every week, while individual car driver volunteers ensure that the more vulnerable members can attend. The group has an equal range of male and female members and is seated according to who they may know, their age, suitability, and who they get on best with.

Every week, the group enjoys a beautiful two-course home-cooked lunch, cooked and served by the Larruperz Centre chef, Katie, and her assistant, Claire. The meal choices are agreed upon with the team and are always popular and well-received. The cost of a weekly meal is currently £10 per person, which is a recent price increase due to the cost of living. Activities for the group are planned with the aim of aiding stimulation, creativity, interaction, and laughter. These activities can range from biscuit decorating and puzzles to singing and dancing.

The Ross-on-Wye Lunch Club has been running for almost 30 years, with some current members having been helpers and volunteers themselves within the group. Sarah and her team are proud to continue this tradition of creating a family for their members and providing a weekly space filled with fun, laughter, and delicious food.