Margot Cooper is a former catering officer for the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital and is keen to welcome more retired health care professionals to the local branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship
The NHS Retirement Fellowship is a national charity set up in 1978 as a social, leisure, educational and welfare organisation for NHS staff. Today, the Fellowship comprises a much wider membership from the health and social care sector and their partners, and includes staff that have been outsourced to the private sector, hospice staff, League of Friends helpers and volunteers generally.
Membership can be postal or in branch (there are over 120 branches across the country). All members have the opportunity to be involved in the wide range of interesting and fun activities within branches and nationally.
Our local branch (covering Redbridge and Waltham Forest) has been going for over 40 years and meets at the pastoral centre of Our Lady of Lourdes in Wanstead on the first Monday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. There is an annual £30 fee and a local £2 per meeting charge. Our monthly meetings are a time to enjoy live entertainment, listen to serious talks on ageing problems and the necessary paperwork, plus events featuring speakers, singers, artists and authors.
Our branch has a welfare coordinator who is very diligent at looking after the needs of the unwell, and indeed every member’s welfare. We also have a number of clubs offering different activities. Our bowls group play indoors and outdoors all year round. The lunch club offers afternoon teas at different locations. Our concerts and theatre outings (using your freedom pass) with block-booked tickets has yet to restart, but organised walks are ongoing. We have a wonderful organiser for trips – some just for a day out to gardens and outdoor shows, nurseries and places of interest, others for short holidays to Ireland and middle England. Our computing club needs a little help and we welcome suggestions for speakers and entertainers.
We publish a magazine, News and Views, three times a year. The editor is always looking for interesting and relevant articles.
Our group needs more volunteers to make the tea and take part in running the club and the committee. We certainly have room for a few more members as the hall holds 120.
One benefit of the pandemic has been Zoom and getting to watch talks organised by Mirthy (mirthy.co.uk), which offers free online events for our members (recent presentations have covered topics such as London architecture and family history). But you do need a screen and you are usually alone. So, it would be lovely to see new faces at the club.
The Redbridge and Waltham Forest branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship meets at the pastoral centre of Our Lady of Lourdes, 51 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11 2PR.
For more information, visit nhsrf.org.uk or call 01305 361 317