The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) has published a new guidance document for care providers and communities called How to Set Up a Luncheon Club.
The guide, written by expert members of the NACC, amid concern over the number of older and vulnerable people that no longer have access to social contact and good nutritious meals.
Luncheon clubs are an informal way to support such people to remain independent within their own community and are considered a lifeline for many who may otherwise find themselves socially isolated, lonely and lacking in regular nutritious meals.
Karen Oliver, NACC chair, commented: "Our aim is to make the job of starting a Luncheon Club as straightforward and painless as possible, so that the vulnerable in society can benefit from this vital support mechanism as quickly as possible.
"It is a sad fact that recent research has highlighted the high number of older people in the community who are malnourished and not eating enough to maintain their health and wellbeing.
"In an environment where local authority services are increasingly stretched, community-led Luncheon Clubs need to be encouraged. These volunteer-led clubs are a necessary presence in today's society as they can offer older and vulnerable people living in their own homes a regular hot and nutritious meal."
How to Set Up a Luncheon Club covers seven core topics that need to be properly understood and addressed in order to start and run a successful, safe and legitimate Luncheon Club, which reflects the needs of each locality and community.
The seven core areas are:
1. Members - including data protection, attendance and payment records
2. Funding - including insurance
3. Venue - covering choice of venue, basic requirements, registration and venue safety
4. Staff/Volunteers - addressing CRB checks, insurance and food hygiene training/induction
5. Food - encompassing food safety, nutrition versus malnutrition, malnutrition and nutritional screening and menus
6. Transport - including transport, travel and volunteer drivers
7. Policies and Procedures.