The Winsome welcomes Lismore back
The Lismore Soup Kitchen is planning a fundraising dinner at the Winsome with patron Tim Costello to celebrate its 20th year, raise some bucks and also welcome the community back to what was once a favourite watering hole.
The Lismore Soup Kitchen obviously has a debt to pay off after purchasing the Winsome Hotel last year and is hoping to have a series of fundraising events throughout the year. However, Lismore Soup Kitchen president Mieke Bell said it was also about wanting the Lismore community to be able to come back and enjoy the venue once more.
“We understand that the community always enjoyed coming to this building – many people loved it – and we’d like them to come back to the building they held dear,” Mieke said. “We have some ideas in mind for later down the track that could include art shows or music, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. For now we’re inviting Tim (Costello) for dinner and he’s been the soup kitchen’s patron for 15 years and was a real drawcard last time he came to Lismore.”
At present, the Lismore Soup Kitchen is serving a main meal every day and providing low-cost accommodation for homeless people, with the aim being to transition them into medium or long-term accommodation. There are currently 16 residents.
“There’s not enough low-cost accommodation right across Australia, but in regional areas and towns like Lismore you’re very aware of it – you can really see it,” she said. “In our small way at the Winsome we’re hoping to address that. We know it’s small, but it’s a start.”
When The Echo visited, there were about 30 people chatting and enjoying what looked like a very hearty lunch, others hustled and bustled about serving food or organising cleaning, some sat on the verdandah talking, and others relaxed in the backyard. There was a general air of co-operation, familiarity and friendship that permeated the space.
“The place is creating a good atmosphere; the facilities here are very good for our activities,” Mieke said. “The commercial kitchen is excellent and, where we once had a little cupboard, we now have an full-sized pantry. And the Winsome is an environment where people can come and spend a few hours during the day and feel comfortable.”
Mieke said the Lismore Soup Kitchen had many plans for the future – vegie gardens planted by soup kitchen volunteers and fundraising BBQs out the back – but it could only happen one step at a time.
“It’s early days – we’ve only been here three or four months and we don’t have huge resources, but we’re definitely looking at developing ideas in the future,” Mieke said. “We’re excited by being here and for the potential we see. But what I’m really hoping is that by having events here again the community will start to own this with us. That it can be a place people in Lismore feel proud of – that’s the committee’s vision.”
The fundraising dinner is on Saturday, February 13, with a three-course dinner prepared by Lismore Soup Kitchen chefs and a fundraising auction with art donated by the Lismore Art Club and other items. Tickets are $40 (BYO) and seating is limited. For bookings and information, phone Mieke on 6624 6080.