Restaurant-style lunches served up to city’s elderly and isolated residents

Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent
·2-min read

Lonely residents who have been cooped up in their homes in Chichester are being treated to a restaurant-style lunch as something to look forward to each week.

Some of the most isolated people in the city are being brought together in the Friday Lunch Club thanks to a local business.

The tasty scheme is run out of the cafe at the Pallant House Gallery, which has been shut during lockdown, and meals have included roast chicken breast and beef bourguignon.

Chichester Cathedral Friday lunch club
A volunteer makes a delivery of hot food for the Friday Lunch Club in Chichester (PA)

Nick Sutherland, director of the Sussex Pub Group which is running the club, said: “The third lockdown, especially coming in winter, has been incredibly tough.

“We thought wouldn’t it be nice if we delivered a restaurant experience meal to someone’s house once a week that would give them something to look forward to.”

Around 50 two-course meals are being delivered to people living in the centre of the West Sussex city each Friday.

The two-course meal, which includes main dish and dessert, is delivered in sealed containers to people’s doors by staff wearing masks. They sanitise their hands before and after each delivery.

Chichester Cathedral Friday lunch club
Some of the dishes prepared for the Friday Lunch Club in Chichester (PA)

Mr Sutherland added: “The teams at Pallant Cafe and Purchases all wanted to help by doing something for lonely local people to look forward to, even if it’s once a week.”

The service is free with voluntary donations made to the project’s partners Pallant House Gallery and Chichester Cathedral.

The Dean of Chichester, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, said: “This project is in response to the isolation and loneliness many in our community are experiencing as a result of the pandemic.

“We are incredibly grateful to Nick and his team for working with us and encourage the public to share word of this initiative to those in Chichester who most need it.”