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The Dixon Community – minority ethnic lunch club for older people

This case study is kept here for historical record as the centre has now been integrated into another project.

Managed by the Dixon Community in Govanhill, the Minority Ethnic Day Activity & Friendship Centre was designed to cater for the specific needs of older people from the South Asian Community. The project provided food and health activities which met cultural and religious requirements. Lunch was an integral part of the work of the centre, providing the opportunity for members to enjoy a healthy meal in the company of friends.

Elderly Asian man seated at communal dining table


The Minority Ethnic Day Activity & Friendship Centre was designed to cater for the specific needs of older people from the South Asian community. The project provided food and activities which meet cultural and religious requirements.

The main focus of the centre’s activity was on health and wellbeing. In the lunch club, members were encouraged to eat healthier options, and care was taken to reduce salt and fat levels in meals, grilling rather than frying food and making sure that salad and fruit were always available.

Exercise classes and yoga were available three times a week, and there were information and focus group sessions on a range of health topics, such as dementia, diabetes and stress reduction.

Members were also involved in activities such as arts, crafts, history projects and films. Outings were arranged throughout the year to places of interest in and around Glasgow.

How it worked

The centre had six full-time paid staff and two sessional workers. It was open for women on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and for men on Wednesday and Friday. Individuals and families could request places and referrals were also taken from GPs and social work services.

The centre had a cook five days a week. A standard meal on three days consisted of meat or vegetable curry, rice, chapatti, salad and yoghurt, with a pudding or fruit salad for dessert. One day a week food was bought in from Cordia and on the other a more limited menu of light snacks is available. All meals were provided for around £3.

Meals could be provided to cater for individual needs.

Staff and volunteers also helped out when they could with shopping for members who live alone and have difficulty accessing shops. The centre had an outreach befriending service providing friendship and home support for older people who were housebound or isolated living in the community.

Transport was important because many members were too frail to make their own way to the centre. The centre had a bus and a driver that picked members up from around 9.45am, dropping them home again after 3pm.

The project had an elected users group that met monthly to deal with any issues, plan outings and co-ordinate the fundraising that was needed to keep different activities running. This committee dealt with any concerns in relation to food, and its chair sat on the main Dixon Community Board.

All staff and volunteers were registered with Disclosure Scotland.


The centre was funded by Glasgow City Council.


Lunch was provided for around 30 members a day.

The meal could be an important part of nutrition for older people attending the centre especially those who live alone. Men who attend the centre were more likely to ask for healthy options and be careful about what they eat.

Published: February 9, 2015