Lunch and community at the Whitley Wood over 50s social club

Tony and his garden at the Whitley Wood Community Centre

Over 50s can enjoy a meal and conversation from 11am until 2pm every Wednesday at the Whitley Wood Community Centre, near Swallowfield Drive, Reading.

The south Reading over 50s social club is run by Whitley’s parish of St Agnes with St Paul and St Barnabas, although the club itself is not religious and diversity is welcomed. For £2.50 a week, attendees get lunch and a dessert and as much tea, coffee and biscuits as they want.

Elaine Austin, who arranges the entertainments, said that the social club is going on a day trip to Weymouth on 1 August and on a boat trip down the Thames to Henley and back one day over summer; there will be a meal out at the Toby Carvery in Earley for people who lacked the mobility to go on the boat trip. The social club also runs bingo and a raffle, for which tickets need to bought.

“We get people in to talk about making wills, and we had a lady who gave a really interesting talk about forensics,” she said, adding that the social club also does a Christmas meal.

Cook Ann Wakefield and building supervisor Carol Woolford at the Whitley Wood Community Centre

The cook, Ann Wakefield, said that the 30 people who had attended the lunch that day had enjoyed a salad followed by a lemon tart. “Last week we had meat and pasta; we’ve also had bolognese, apple strudel, pies – it’s different each week”, she said.

“We try to go with the weather; when it’s warm we have a salad”, added Carol Woolford, the building supervisor.

Tony, the gardener, tends an allotment in which he grows leeks, garlic, potatoes, onions, shallots, beans, rhubarb, strawberries, gooseberries and blackberries. The social club uses the produce and members can buy any surpluses. He also grows flowers including aquilegia, tulips and geraniums.

“I’ve been a gardener here since I retired about five years ago,” said Tony. “I gets loads of bees in summer, especially on the Buddleia.”

“We’re also looking for volunteers to help put out tables and chairs, and take food around to people who can’t get it for themselves,” said Elaine Austin. “Tony (the gardener) could do with a hand as there’s not another guy here able to do it.”

You can just turn up at Whitley Wood’s over 50s social club. You can get more information from Sarah Hunneman at Reading Borough Council (

The Whitley Wood Community Centre is on Copenhagen Close, off Swallowfield Drive, Whitley RG2 8UH. Reading buses route 6 stops outside and route 9 stops at the nearby Engineer’s Court. Elaine Austin (elaineaustin51@gmail.comcan arrange Readibus transfer for people with restricted mobility.

Joan, June and Gladys polishing off dessert at the over 50s club at the Whitley Wood Community Centre

  1. South Reading Over 50s Social Club
  2. Whitley Wood Community Centre website and Facebook page
  3. Computer tuition at the Whitley Wood Community Centre
  4. Reading Buses
  5. Readibus
  6. Parish of St Agnes with St Paul and St Barnabas

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