The Thursday Club is an opportunity for people who are 60-years-old and above to meet and mix with others of a similar age group each week. The club is held at Solihull Jewish Community Centre, and predominantly caters for the cultural needs of Jewish senior citizens – including providing kosher meals. The service is non-denominational and welcomes people from the wider community across the borough.
For many people, the club is a meeting place as well as an eating place, and helps those who are vulnerable or feel isolated. The excellence of the service provided by The Thursday Club was recognised with the award in 2012 of The Queens Award for Voluntary Service, the equivalent of an MBE for Charities. The club was also awarded the Solihull Together for Better Lives Award for the Outstanding Project Delivered in the Community.
Rabbi Yehuda Pink, Director of the Thursday Club service says:
“Working with my team, many of which are volunteers, fills me with pride when I think about what the service does for people and how it enriches their lives.
“In the main, the club caters for those who are from a Jewish background, but we’d never turn anyone away who wasn’t. We are a welcoming community service serving healthy nutritional cooked meals that are made well and served with a smile.”
Ruth Abrahams, Co-ordinator of the Thursday Club since its launch in 2004 says:
“For our users it’s more than just food. We know people come to us for good company, interaction and friendship. The Midlands doesn’t have a high Jewish population, like in parts of London, and for some older people the lure of the capital city can mean their children move away. This leaves some older people without a strong support network, and this is where the Thursday Club helps.
“Around 20-40 people meet each week to socialise and share cultural stories of the good times as well as what’s happening in their lives today. A lot of the work here simply couldn’t be done without the fantastic volunteers we have. They are the life blood of the service. Their caring and considerate attitude helps the club thrive and makes it the warm welcoming place it is.
“The club is a bonding experience for many. Along with meeting people, the staff are able to check that our customers are happy and well. This helps us to look out for them. If someone hasn’t come in for a few weeks, we can get in touch with other organisations and partners to make sure that person is OK. By making sure people are well, receiving a good meal and are generally in good health, I believe we prevent people falling through the cracks.
“We run the club for all the great people who come to eat with us every week. Food, culture, laugher and good conversation is the perfect recipe for a successful club, and I believe that is what we have: and long may it continue.”