The Good Companion pub club recently celebrated its five year anniversary of fun, laughter and friendship.
The club, which is one of Brendoncare’s 90+ clubs across Hampshire and Dorset, meets weekly at the pub on Eastern Road in Portsmouth, where the landlord, Adi Manning, lets charity Brendoncare use the facilities for free.
Each week, members enjoy a varied programme of activities, including quizzes, cooking for one demonstrations, bingo, singalongs, guest speakers, summer lunches and usually one or two trips out per year. For their 5th birthday, entertainment was provided by singer Bernie Hilton who encouraged the members to sing along Karaoke style and there were plenty of cupcakes to go round, each topped with members photos. The food and entertainment were paid for using the donations received for the club via the green token scheme at Waitrose in Southsea.
Since joining the Monday club, many members have become friends who socialise together outside of the club. Two of the male members who have recently become friends have enjoyed trips to Scotland and Turkey. Some of the members have also joined other local Brendoncare groups, including the Emsworth Kurling club.
The clubs is run by a team of seven volunteers, four of whom have been there since day one. Pauline Piper attended the first session and immediately put herself forward to become a volunteer. She has been there ever since:
“To me the club is all about making a difference. I look around at our club members and people who were once visibly upset and struggling when they first came to the club are now laughing, interacting with the other members and fully participating in the club’s activities. It really warms my heart and, if I may say, it gives me a sense of pride. The members are very appreciative of us volunteers and always enquire as to our welfare – they miss us if we are absent for any reason.”
Fiona Rosen, another volunteer for the Good Companions club, adds: “For me, it means a chance to mix with different people and really feel that age is just not important. It’ a chance for people to get together, forget their troubles, share, talk and put the world to rights for a couple of hours each week. It’s what building a community spirit is all about.”