Big thank you from

Christmas lunch with a difference for local older people

Wallace Yu of the Beijing Restaurant pictured with volunteers and clients of Bryson House at their Charity Lunch. US5111- 106A0

Wallace Yu of the Beijing Restaurant pictured with volunteers and clients of Bryson House at their Charity Lunch. US5111- 106A0

THERE was a Christmas lunch with a difference for local older people last week when Beijing Restaurant in Lisburn held a very special event last Friday.

A group of 10 older people who live in the City of Lisburn and surrounding rural areas was invited to the lunch by Bryson Charitable Group with the kind assistance of Wallace (GM), Beijing Restaurant.

And it was a lunch with a difference as it did not include the normal traditional fare but had a distinctive Chinese flavour.

One of the guests, Ena from Lisburn, said: "I was so curious to find out just what 'Christmas Lunch with a difference' was all about. It certainly is different all right - no sign of vegetable broth or Christmas 'pud' and it's quite remarkable - there isn't even a turkey in sight! Even though it is not Christmas Day, I'll be able to think about the lovely food and the special people I've met today right up to and after Christmas. What a great thing that is - it's one of the best Christmases I have had in many a year."

"I am delighted to have got involved in the Safe and Well project delivered by Bryson and love to see Lorna (Bryson Volunteer) a lovely, lovely girl who calls to visit me every week to share her news and experiences - she keeps me up to date with what's going on around me. I do not know how I would manage without her company. Safe & Well is such a wonderful Project - it has such caring, friendly, honest and down to earth people, and they are the reason I can continue to live in my own home."

Valerie Rohinson (Volunteer Coordinator, Bryson Charitable Group) said: "It's been a wonderful day all thanks to the outstanding kindness and willingness of so many people who give freely of their time or services. A huge thank you to our tireless volunteering family for their unending support. It would be remiss of me not to say thank you too on behalf of our older friends, to the South Eastern HSC Trust and to partners of the Safe & Well Partnership Board, for having the foresight to set up such an outstanding project. It has given help to so many and thanks to Bryson Charitable Group of course for trusting me to manage the Volunteer Befriending Services."

The Safe and Well Project Down and Lisburn areas has received funding for five years through the Big Lottery Fund, with further funding from Investing for Health, Public Health Agency and the Department of Agriculture and Rural development.

Gretta, one of the Bryson Volunteers, said: "Volunteer befriending means such a lot and I'm so glad to he 'matched' with Florence (Upper Ballinderry). After all none of us have any idea what is ahead, but we can be sure one thing and that's getting older in years ourselves. I can't imagine how it must feel to he alone, looking at the same four walls everyday whilst others are out celebrating.

"It's really heart warming to join with so many of the Bryson Volunteers and their 'friends' today, however, it's rather astonishing that there aren't more older people, especially in the rural areas of Lisburn, taking up the offer to benefit from this wonderful service. We realise that some folks don't want to come out when it's cold, when they aren't in good health or mobility restrictions make them less able, but to have access to a service like ours means that nothing is impossible."

For more information about the Safe & Well Project feel free to contact Sandra Glover (Project Coordinator) on (028) 97566934/5; if you would like to offer your help by volunteering / offering your services then Valerie Robinson, Volunteer Befriending Coordinator (Bryson Charitable Group) would be delighted to hear from you . Tel: 07808 765440 / email at any time.

Ulster Star