Today’s lunch at H&F Council’s Pensioners’ Café was sadly the last. It was packed out with elderly citizens from across the borough. All arriving to take one last meal in the café and to express their sorrow at it’s closure by taking part in a sit-in.
The Pensioners’ Canteen has been part of borough life for over twenty years offering our local elderly a hot meal with fresh meat/fish, vegetables, pudding and a drink for £2.70. Here are some of the comments from the people in the photo:
John Tripp (82) “I was 18 years old when I went up the line. I landed in Normandy on D Day 6 fighting the Nazis in France, Belgium and Germany. I got blown up the day before the war finished. I don't expect anything in return but this café has been a life-line for me. I leave my flat in Fulham around mid-morning and get here to have my dinner with all my friends. The food is fresh and good value. Closing this is a disgrace, it’s rubbish. I am very angry about about it".
Aubrey Bowman (90) “It’s criminal to close our canteen with only a few weeks’ notice. Where do they expect us to go now? I don’t think they’re in the slightest bit bothered.”
Dorothy Channon (88) “I have been a life-long Conservative but I will not be voting for them ever again… I have written to Cameron to express my disgust. We would have paid a little more but they didn’t even ask us. They just shut it down”.
Rosie and Gordon Hose (confided that they are both over 60) “This has been a lovely place for us to meet and make friends… This closure is denying pensioners and disabled people from getting a decent hot meal each day".
Edward Morris (84) “I don’t think they know how important this is to us all and I don’t think they even care for the aged people in Hammersmith".
The canteen was a shared service with staff after the previous Pensioners' Café merged with the employees’ dining facility several years ago. Pensioners were given one month’s notice of the canteen's closure.
I appreciate that the Council will need to seek value but this was a service our elderly people relied upon and there has been no effort put into providing an alternative facility of a similar quality. I am hoping that something can be done to replicate this service for our local pensioners. I will let you know how we get on.