Emily (left) and Kay (right) above set up Flatt Lane Lite Bites
Emily volunteers at Flatt Lane Lite Bites, a lunch club in Ellesmere Port that runs on Mondays and Thursdays out of Flatt Lane Community Centre. The lunch club exists to give socially isolated people a reason to get out the house and spend time with other people.
“We set it up because we knew there were people out there who weren’t getting out or interacting with anyone at all.” says Emily, “It’s not good for people.”
“Since the club’s been running, we’ve had people coming out and making friends – one person is even in a relationship from here! There’s a regular group of them who now meet up outside of the lunch club. For them, it’s been life changing.”
Emily goes on to explain how they’re continuing to expand the club so they reach more people: “On Thursdays, we now also provide meals for a local group of socially-isolated elderly people who meet up in a church. Their kitchen isn’t big enough, so we do the food for them. We’re also thinking of extending the Thursdays to catch struggling parents with young children, so they can come in and have coffee and toast.”
Emily has been earning Time Credits for the past year and recently spent some to take her brother and two teenage boys to watch Chester Football Club play Leamington Spa. At 2 Time Credits per person, it cost Emily 8 Time Credits to take 4 of her family members to a game. For Emily, 8 Time Credits is the equivalent of running two weeks’ worth of lunch clubs, which help over 40 people a week.
“When the Chester F.C. game came up on a Time Credits email, I was so excited! I was like ‘boys, do you wanna go and see a real football match?!’ – they couldn’t believe it. I was so happy to be able to take them to a real stadium, you know, so they could get the gist of what football is really like.”
“We’re all massive football fans, you see. I followed Chester FC when I was younger and pregnant with my daughter. I followed them all over the country as an away fan – I went to London and all sorts.”
“I lost touch a bit with it after that, you know, I had kids and everything. Recently my circumstances have changed and I’m now on Universal Credit. For a long time, I haven’t been able to afford anything. It’s definitely not something I would have done without Time Credits.”
“The atmosphere was amazing! One of my sons is a massive Liverpool fan but now he’s experienced that, he’s excited about being able to go and see Chester F.C. every now and again. Now they’re of this age, they’re starting to get their own jobs and they’ve said they want to be able to take me occasionally.”
“My brother loved it too. He’s in a similar boat to me. He used to go all the time in the past but hasn’t been for ages and can’t really afford it. I’ve said though, from now on, I’m going to go once every couple of months to treat the kids. Its Chester vs York at the end of the month. They’re top of the league. I’m saving up for us to go to that one.”
By joining the scheme as a Time Credits spend partner, Chester F.C. were able to reach Emily and her family and reignite their interest in the club. In additional, Emily explains that they bought hot dogs and drinks while at the game, generating additional income for the club.
“We definitely wouldn’t have been able to do this without Time Credits, and it meant a lot to us that they were part of the scheme. We’re really glad the Council are backing this initiative and hope they can help us bring on more partners with opportunities like this.”