Staff and service users at the Russia Lane Day Centre and Lunch Club in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, were joined by a very special guest yesterday. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visited the popular community hub to meet with its regulars and learn more about the value it brings to their lives.
Her Royal Highness also visited Tower Hamlets’ Meals On Wheels service that enables the London Borough’s elderly and vulnerable to continue to live independently in their own homes.
The visit was organised by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), the association that campaigns tirelessly to raise awareness of the important role Meals On Wheels and Lunch Clubs play within communities; providing regular nutritious hot meals to older people that cannot prepare their own and a social lifeline that eases the loneliness many older people experience.
Hosted by Neel Radia, the National Chair of the NACC and Deborah McDonald, the Russia Lane Day Centre Manager, The Duchess was shown the Day Centre’s Sensory Room, which has been specially designed to help stimulate people with dementia, met the team preparing lunch in the kitchen, and chatted with the service users who regularly benefit from the centre’s activities, enjoy a tasty, nutritious lunch and catch up with friends.
Her Royal Highness took the time to talk to the Day Centre team and service users to find out more about the facility’s valuable contribution to the community and the positive impact it has on many lives. The Duchess also presented them with a special gift of a Christmas cake, which was gratefully received and enjoyed by all.
Before departing, The Duchess met with the drivers who deliver Meals on Wheels around the borough and learned how important their daily visits can be for older people who may otherwise be completely isolated; providing vital safety and wellness checks, a nutritious meal and a friendly face to talk with.
The Royal visit is part of The Duchess’ work that champions encouraging and inspiring the older generation to keep fit, active and engaged, tackling the isolation and seclusion that many older people face. Her Royal Highness takes an interest in organisations dedicated to helping older people stay active and to feel valued and independent, including Lunch clubs and Meals On Wheels services.
Neel Radia said about Her Royal Highness’ visit: “Welcoming Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall to the Russia Lane Day Centre was an absolute honour. The time and valuable support Her Royal Highness has given will help raise awareness of the wonderful and vital role such services play in communities across the country. Lunch Clubs and Meals On Wheels offer many life-enhancing benefits, from nutritious meals to advice, wellness checks and simply a friendly face and someone to interact with. It’s no wonder they are often the highlight of many older people’s days or weeks. The Duchess has been an honorary member of the NACC since 2009 and Her Royal Highness’ continued support of our work is very much appreciated and respected. It was a pleasure to be part of today’s festivities and to see how much Her Royal Highness’ visit meant to everyone involved.”
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “I was delighted that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall could meet people who have been instrumental in ensuring that Tower Hamlets is a borough where older residents retain their independence, wellbeing and quality of life in their advancing years.
“Tackling loneliness and social isolation are now key priorities for us. They can lead to poorer physical and mental health and they increase chances of developing dementia, depression and early death.
“Local residents with dementia benefit hugely from the specialist help and support provided at Russia Lane and the staff are highly skilled and experienced in working with people affected by the disease.
“Places like Russia Lane offer a wealth of services to ensure residents aged 50 and over keep their independence and dignity with the help of community care and support services. It was wonderful that Her Royal Highness saw the huge contribution this service makes to the lives of local people.”