Couple hit decade mark for helping at over 50s lunch club

The Rumney-based group has recently reopened after Covid closures

A CARDIFF couple are celebrating a decade helping at an over 50s lunch club as it reopens following lockdown closures.

Roath-born Peter Manley, 69, and his wife Gabalfa-born Louise, 69, began volunteering at The Beacon Centre in St Mellons after the couple moved to the area in 2012.

Louise saw an advert for volunteers and applied, joining the centre as a cook whereas Peter’s role was driving the minibus, picking up the club members and dropping them back at their homes.

Peter Manley and wife Louise celebrating their golden wedding anniversary in 2021 (Photo: Peter Manley)

“I love to bake and cook meals for these people who really appreciate it.

“Some of these don’t see anyone from one week to the next so it helps their mental health to be a part of the club,” said Louise.

In 2017, the kitchen at the centre was closed leaving the lunch club homeless, but the couple were undaunted.

“Louise and I could have walked away from this, but we knew that these people relied on their day out of socialising and a lovely hot meal,” said Peter.

“We searched high and low for a suitable place until we came up with Rumney Chapel on Brachdy Road. It’s a perfect place in every way, having both a large kitchen and a huge hall for dining.”

After settling at the new Rumney venue, the pandemic struck and the club’s activities were suspended once again.

The past two years have been damaging for the club, but the team were able to reopen before Christmas.

“We’ve had a Christmas party and we’ve operated all Wednesdays except one since the new year, everything is back to normal now,” he added.

Volunteers working hard at the club during their Christmas lunch (Photo: Peter Manley)

Members value its services highly.

 “The lunch club is wonderful as it gives people a chance to meet up and have a chat, a good meal and a game of bingo. Over the last two years we kept in touch, and it cheered everyone up just to be able to talk,” said member Tony Hunt, 68.

Fellow member June Marks, 61, said: “Peter, Louise and the team do a fantastic job of making everyone feel welcome and the food is always lovely.

“The club is an important part of my father-in-law’s week. He enjoys a chat and a win on the bingo and of course whatever is on the dessert menu. I think the club is a vital part of the community.”

Currently the club has five regular volunteers and 20 members, whose go up to 101 years old.

  • The club meets every Wednesday. If you’re interested in joining or finding out more, you can access the group on Facebook.