THE Melksham Lunch Club is to relaunch today (Friday, February 8) as Melksham Community Meals after a successful campaign by volunteers.

The club, which closed in December following cuts by Wiltshire Council, has been saved by retired accountant Sue Mortimer, Elvey Schofield and Sue Hutchinson.

They have re-launched the club as a community group, with support from Melksham Town Council and some of the town’s businesses and organisations.

Councillors unanimously agreed at a recent full council meeting to let the group use Melksham Assembly Hall for six months.

They have waived the rent for the first three months and have offered a reduced rent for the remaining three months.

Mrs Mortimer said: “Everybody told me that I had a mountain to climb and that I would not do it, but I have reached the top.

“I just feel like Melksham Town Council has come up trumps for the people of Melksham. They have been very supportive and have offered two days a week.”

Mrs Mortimer said the whole town seemed to be behind the group, who are working on registering as a charity.

Town councillors have also voiced support, with Cllr Hayley Illman saying: “Hopefully this will prove to Wiltshire Council that the service can be successful. Let’s show them it can be done and by people who care.”

Mrs Mortimer, who used to work for Monahans, hopes to offer one sitting on Friday and another on Sunday for 25-60 people. Meal prices will be roughly the same as before.

The town council will also help Melksham Community Meals to promote the service and explore long-term options on a future venue.

As well as reaching out to older people who may be struggling with isolation, the lunch club will now be open to everyone in the community, offering a place for people to meet and socialise

Wiltshire Council decided to close the club last December because it was running at a loss of £82,000 a year.

Mrs Mortimer has since enlisted support from the town’s Asda, Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose supermarkets and the Melksham Area Board.

She is also planning to ask the town’s Co-op supermarket for support, saying: “I just haven’t got round to it yet.”

A quiz night on January 27 with 14 teams taking part raised £304 to help fund the project and further events may be planned.

Melksham Community Meals launches at the Assembly Hall from 12 noon until 2pm on Friday and from 12 noon to 2.30pm on Sunday. To book, contact the Assembly Hall on 01225 709887.