Community kitchen to celebrate Marlborough’s elderly with tea and scones

Crossroads founding trustee Yvonne Dasler, left, and Crossroads chair Stephen Vallance will celebrate International Day of Older Persons at John’s Kitchen on Thursday.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Crossroads founding trustee Yvonne Dasler, left, and Crossroads chair Stephen Vallance will celebrate International Day of Older Persons at John’s Kitchen on Thursday.

A community kitchen in Blenheim will be a place of tea and scones on Thursday, in a celebration of Marlborough’s older population.

Crossroads Marlborough chairman Stephen Vallance said they were inviting over 65s to mix and mingle at their community centre, John’s Kitchen, on International Day of Older Persons, as they tried to get more people to visit the space.

They knew there were more people in Marlborough who could benefit from what the kitchen had to offer.

“It’s our way of acknowledging our older people for the contribution they make to society,” Vallance said.

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“Any community centre is there to try and provide something for those people who need companionship of some sort.

“One would hope that is something we can provide. There’s no specific requirement, but to come in and see if you find it [John’s Kitchen] helpful.”

He said historically people thought of Crossroads as a place for those struggling, but it was for anyone in the community.

“It is for anybody who feels lonely or left out so if we can give them some sort of support and if they can feel some sort of comfort then that’s great,” he said.

“Come with a friend, or come alone and make a friend. We welcome everyone.”

Crossroads founding trustee Yvonne Dasler said a lot of people came to Blenheim to retire, so events like this helped them to meet others in the community.

“Because they’re not from Marlborough, they don’t know others in town,” Dasler said.

“We keep it simple, we’re not putting on a grand spread, we do simple and we do neighbourly.”

She said a lot of their volunteers also fitted into the over-65 bracket, and they wanted to celebrate them too.

“If people haven’t been here before it’s a nice time to pop in and get to know us. It’s a way to introduce ourselves and also say ‘thank you’ to our older volunteers,” she said.

“It’s very simple but people can just pop in at any time, and they’ll be greeted with a smile and a cuppa.

“It has been a tough time and a lot of people have struggled with loneliness over the winter months and lockdown, so it’s good to get out there and also for newcomers to town who might not know many others.”

International Day for Older Persons 2020 is on Thursday, October 1. Crossroads will be open 8am to 1.30pm with scones served 10am to 1pm, free of charge.

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