On Friday 27th April the annual Women of Rochdale Luncheon took place at Rochdale Town Hall’s Great Hall in aid of Springhill Hospice. The 2018 Luncheon saw 200 ladies come together for a delightful and exciting afternoon which saw Sing! Littleborough entertain, double Olympic gold medalist Joanna Rowsell Shand MBE as Guest Speaker and Marilyn Jones awarded the prestigious title of Rochdale Woman of the Year for 2018.
Marilyn was nominated for her vision and growth of Rochdale’s Soup Kitchen, working tirelessly to reach out to members of the society who are less fortunate and have nothing or very little. Whilst she is not the only person to be involved in Rochdale’s Soup Kitchen, without her ambition, determination and drive it may not be the success it has grown to be.
Marilyn said “I was absolutely dumbfounded. To be nominated was an honor but to win, I am delighted.” She continued “I am still so shocked as it was so unexpected, it is wonderful to be able to shine a light on the whole team at the Soup Kitchen”.
Marilyn, and friend Vida Slater, had the vision to set up a soup kitchen in Rochdale and on Christmas Eve 2013, they decided to take a pan full of soup down to the Town Centre and it evolved from there. Marilyn shares that “from starting with one pan full of soup, we now have over 50 volunteer soup makers, cake bakers and those who fund us financially. On average we serve 30 portions of food on a weekday and up to 70 portions at the weekend”.
The Soup Kitchen functions from its premises at Chapness Hall and aims to reach out to the homeless and socially isolated across Rochdale. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 6pm and Saturday lunch time. Their future aim is to be able to open throughout the week from lunchtime.
Along with homemade soup further facilities the team offers have grown to include an impressive range of support from hairdressing to washers and driers and visits from the Homeless Alliance Response Team which consists of volunteer Doctors and Nurses.
“As we totally rely on donations we are so lucky to have so much support throughout the borough especially from; Tesco Express, M&S, Morrisons, Lidl, Greggs, Bunnings, Rochdale Council, the Masons of Rochdale and Hopwood Hall Students to name a few” says Marilyn.
Events and Corporate Fundraiser at Springhill Hospice, Sophie Ansley, says “ every year the Women of Rochdale Luncheon recognises the wonderful work of Women throughout our borough and what a worthy winner Marilyn is for this year. This year’s event was a huge success, providing valuable support to the Hospice. I would like to express our sincere thanks to event sponsors Mike Goldrick Blinds LTD and Jackson Jackson & Sons for their continued support”.
Next year’s Women of Rochdale Luncheon will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Springhill Hospice and is sure to be a very special event. Make sure you save the date for Friday 26th April and join us at our 2019 Women of Rochdale Luncheon.