King’s Lounge is our weekly lunch club for anyone who is retired. Matt Wright recently finished a year of volunteering...
“I thought I’d like to get some broader experience. I’d never worked with elderly people before, so I volunteered. I set up and do all the labouring tasks. But quite quickly I got involved with a lot of the old people, just through chatting and conversation.
They have blessed me far more than I’ve ever blessed them. They’ve been there, done it, got the T-shirt, and they’re full of wisdom and ideas and stories and encouragement, and they’re all very relaxed. This is genuinely the most rewarding and enjoyable part of my week.
They just want time, and they want you to speak to them. I think they enjoy a younger person being here, because they get to live through what you’re doing. They’re all at the same stage, and they’re all going through things; illnesses, sickness, psychological problems, and they help and encourage each other, and kind of spur each other on.
There’s a sense of how to treat the old people. It’s a culture that we establish. The room is set up immaculately. If you look in there, it is done to a T. And obviously, the food. They really appreciate the food.
People that come initially feel welcomed and loved and cared about. But over time, I would start to see people latch on to the gospel messages we share each week. There are, of course, people who come and never interact with that. But there are a few people – a lady that I’ve known for the whole year, for the first time, came to church yesterday at City West.
King’s Lounge and things like it have shown me my part in the church, but as well, the need for it. As I said, for some of them this meeting is their lifeline. There’s a lady who comes. She doesn’t have a relationship with any of her children, and she’s constantly facilitated by carers. She doesn’t see anybody, really, the rest of the week, and she has various illnesses, and she probably just feels quite let down by society. When she comes in, she’ll hang around at the end. She’ll not leave until she absolutely has to. That makes me aware of how many people out there are vulnerable and need help, and how many old people are forgotten as well.”