Every month we run many groups for our members. They are a safe space for them to connect with other LGBTQ+ people, make new friends, have fun and feel less isolated. During the lockdown, we moved all our groups online but now that the restrictions are lifted, we're bringing many of them back to in-person!

We have asked Paul and Peter, the two volunteers who run the group, to tell us more about it as well as their volunteer experience with Opening Doors. 

"The monthly Lunch and Film Club has been going now for many years at the Henderson Court in Hampstead, I have been involved in it since 2015 and Paul started volunteering a year or so later.

The purpose is to encourage ODL members to connect with others over Lunch and feel less isolated and be able to chat in a safe space with other LGBTQI members. Typically there are between 20-30 members each month.

The event is scheduled for the first Sunday of the month and consists of tea/ coffee on arrival with a 2 course lunch followed by the showing of a film. Members contribute £5 each month.

We tend to theme July for Pride and December for Christmas

Originally when the event started the food was delivered from a restaurant and served to the guests.

A major shift in how it operated came about when the preparation and cooking of the lunch was handed over to the volunteers. Now everything is prepared and cooked by the volunteers and apart from giving more choice, it also enables us to better cater for people that have special dietary needs. We try our best to cater for everyone’s needs, within the limit of our budget and the physical limitations of the kitchen.

There has never been a big update for the watching of the films, so another change that occurred was that those members that weren’t keen to watch the film, stayed on in the other room to have a drink and a chat among themselves and with the volunteers.

Since lockdown ended, we have welcomed many new members that we met on the online Zoom Sunday Get Togethers meetings when face to face events were not possible.

We started our face to face again in June 2021, We have undertaken risk assessments and changed the way we arrange and serve the food using both rooms to allow for social distancing. Members temperatures are taken on arrival and masks are worn by volunteers and by members when moving around. Currently we are not showing a film, as it was felt time socialising with one another was more important after such a long period of people being isolated at home also to reduce the amount of time that people spend in the indoor space. We hope to resume the films in October.

From our volunteers: 
“ My favourite Sunday of the month - great to see our members enjoying themselves- a pleasure to spend the afternoon with them”.    Frank 
“ Being part of the volunteer team and meeting the members is full of variety and fun”   Paul 
We also asked some of our members who attend the group to tell about their experience:
"I am writing about the Sunday lunch club which I have been to a few times and had a very enjoyable time the food is lovely and the people very welcoming and friendly and look forward to many more visits."