Come dine with us — community friendship lunch at BGS

February 29 2016
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Come dine with us — community friendship lunch at BGS

“IT’S so lonely living on your own, sometimes you don’t see anyone all day and now I’ve come here, made friends and joined a walking group and I’m so happy.”

“My friend said it was like you had unlocked the door to her jail. She felt 20 years younger.”

These were the thoughts of some of the guests at Bristol Grammar School’s community friendship lunch on 17 February.

More than seventy older members of the local community enjoyed lunch and an afternoon of entertainment at BGS.

The lunch was one of several community projects BGS staff contributed to as part of their INSET day Outreach Wellbeing afternoon.

Other activities included constructing pens for the baboons at Bristol Wild Place, creating a Woodland Wonderland at Windmill Hill City Farm, and a staff samba band playing at Cabot Circus to raise money for the charity Above and Beyond.

After a delicious meal, cooked and served by BGS staff, the lunch guests enjoyed live music, bingo, a free raffle and dancing before ending the afternoon with tea and homemade cake.

The visitors, from the Hengrove, Knowle and Filwood areas of the city, were all connected to the LinkAge Bristol group, a charity that works with the over-55s to facilitate inspiring social activities that enrich lives, reduce loneliness and encourage active participation. Other guests came from St Joseph’s home in Cotham, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The guests all had a fantastic time, with one of them summing up the afternoon saying “Everything is wonderful. I was made to feel so welcome the moment I walked in, the decorations are beautiful, everyone is so friendly, the food is delicious (especially the pastry) and I’m really glad I came.”

The 22 members of BGS staff who helped to organise and run the event also enjoyed the afternoon.

Lucy Shepherd, Literary Events Co-ordinator at the School said “It was such a joy-filled, heart-warming and inclusive event: all the guests clearly LOVED it and it was one of the best afternoons I have ever spent at BGS in eighteen years.”

Director of CPD at BGS, David Mair, who initiated the outreach Wellbeing afternoon, said: “It was an excellent day bringing together all areas of the BGS staff and giving something back to our wider Bristol community. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all’.

Many thanks to Sainsbury’s, Wilko, Waitrose, Clifton Flowers, Boots and Wiltshire Farm Foods, who so generously supported the lunch with donations of food and raffle prizes.

You can find out more about LinkAge Bristol on their website: www.linkagebristol.org.uk