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Londonderry luncheon club takes meals direct to members' homes

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Mildred Garfield helping make the meals

Mildred Garfield helping make the meals

Phyllis Quigley

Phyllis Quigley

Mildred Garfield helping make the meals

Members of a luncheon club in the Caw area of Londonderry who normally meet up for a bite to eat and an afternoon of giggles and gossip have had to abandon their chats as part of coronavirus restrictions - but the volunteers at the centre are not abandoning them.

The club has closed but the volunteers and kitchen staff who make the dinners have come together to extend their delivery service so those now isolating at home aren't missing out.

Phyllis Quigley goes to the club every Monday and Thursday but for now at least she will get her meals delivered to her door.

The 71-year-old said: "I really will miss seeing everyone at the club because, as well as the beautiful dinners, I loved seeing everyone because you always got a wee laugh.

"I have been going to the club for seven years, it is very much part of my life and I won't know what to do with myself.

"It was as much for the social aspect as anything else, but I know it is important we all do what we can to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"I am dreading being isolated, I remember being stuck at home after operations and I was tearing my hair out, but at least for now I will be able to get in the car and go for a drive to the likes of Culmore Point and get a breath of fresh air.

"I am so grateful the volunteers are bringing dinner to us and hope that will be able to continue as the dinners are freshly made and taste beautiful."

Among those helping keep this important service for the local community is Mildred Garfield, a former mayor of Derry.

She said: "We will do this for as long as we can; this is a very fast changing situation and we may not be able to do this for as long as we would like, but it is at times like this people come together and look out for their neighbours."

A similar spirit is shining in Creggan where shops and businesses set up a home delivery service for elderly and vulnerable residents isolating at home.

The initiative is being co-ordinated by Creggan Enterprises.

CEO Conal McFeely said: "There is a great spirit of wanting to help out among the people of Creggan. This couldn't happen without the dedication of the staff working so hard to keep the shops open, stocking shelves and providing such good care to customers.

"Likewise it is so great to see people volunteering as drivers for this initiative."

Belfast Telegraph