Monday Club at The Swan and Helmet in Grove Road, Northampton. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds

Northampton special school students have a blast with senior citizens by helping out at pub's Monday Club

Two pupils from a Northampton special needs school had fun with the elderly members of a pub's Monday Club when they helped out this week.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 12:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th October 2021, 1:40 pm

The Swan and Helmet's weekly club, which started after the first coronavirus lockdown for isolated people worried about socialising, welcomed the Northgate Academy students on Monday (October 11).

The teenagers helped serve lunch and organise the bingo and raffle at the Grove Road pub, all put on by landlady and charity founder, Teresa McCarthy.

"It went really well - the two boys were absolutely fantastic, they fitted in really and the group is so friendly," she said.

"It gave them some confidence and taught them different skills so it's really good for us to work with them."

Around 50 people on average come to the Monday Club organised by the McCarthy-Dixon Foundation, which was started by Teresa at the beginning of the pandemic as a food bank and to help those who were isolating.

The charity has been supporting Northgate Academy with the food bank and Teresa offered the students a chance to gain work experience by helping out.

Sarah Moore, from the Queens Park Parade special school, said the boys loved getting stuck in with a real-life job and came away 'buzzing'.

"One of them told me, 'it was amazing and fun and I learned new skills,' and the other said, 'I felt wanted,' which I thought was lovely," she said.

"He added, 'I loved working with the senior citizens, especially Skippy, and I can't wait to go back again and meet more lovely people.'"

Sarah said they hope to go back next week with the same pupils before taking some fresh students in the future.

The Monday Club has helped many older people reconnect with friends or make new ones after spending so long indoors during Covid.

Teresa said one woman is now a regular visitor with a whole new friendship group she never knew existed before the pandemic after spending years caring for her husband.

For £4 a week, members get a free lunch including a hot one once a month as well as games, arts and crafts, live music and regular speakers.

"It's a real success, it's really good fun and everyone enjoys it - anyone is welcome too," Teresa added.

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