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‘A ray of sunshine on a rainy day’ - Joy as first loneliness-busting event is successful

PUBLISHED: 15:54 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:55 30 April 2018

Sarah Daniels, fourth right, organiser, at the launch of Meet Up Mondays, a scheme to help tackle loneliness by opening up venues around Norfolk for a chat and a cuppa. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sarah Daniels, fourth right, organiser, at the launch of Meet Up Mondays, a scheme to help tackle loneliness by opening up venues around Norfolk for a chat and a cuppa. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

“A ray of sunshine on a rainy day.”

Sarah Daniels, organiser, at the launch of Meet Up Mondays, a scheme to help tackle loneliness by opening up venues around Norfolk for a chat and a cuppa, with Robert Rose, 71, from Old Catton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSarah Daniels, organiser, at the launch of Meet Up Mondays, a scheme to help tackle loneliness by opening up venues around Norfolk for a chat and a cuppa, with Robert Rose, 71, from Old Catton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

That was how the launch of a new initiative designed to tackle loneliness was described today when a scheme known as Meet Up Mondays took off in Norwich.

The idea first came about at the Alexandra pub, in Wimbledon, earlier this year and has since taken off as a country-wide phenomenon.

The premise is simple - venues from churches to cafes, to businesses and schools, open up their doors for a couple of hours on a Monday to act as a meeting place for those who want a cup of tea and a chat.

It does not have to be every week, and all it takes is giving up some time. Already the meet ups have gathered momentum in Suffolk and today Norfolk’s first event was held at No 8 Thorpe Road.

Sarah Daniels, fourth right, organiser, at the launch of Meet Up Mondays, a scheme to help tackle loneliness by opening up venues around Norfolk for a chat and a cuppa. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSarah Daniels, fourth right, organiser, at the launch of Meet Up Mondays, a scheme to help tackle loneliness by opening up venues around Norfolk for a chat and a cuppa. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sarah Daniels, who was behind today’s event, said: “It’s gone much better than we could have expected, I think it’s created a sense of community, a sense of friendliness, and a sense of kindness.”

Mrs Daniels said organising the event could not have been easier, and although sandwiches and cake were provided there were venues elsewhere who just made cups of tea, or were only able to offer biscuits.

“But it’s the people who make it work,” she said.

Robert Rose, 71, from Old Catton had seen the event advertised in this newspaper and decided to go along.

Mr Rose said: “I lost my wife six years ago this November, and it’s not very nice being on your own. We were married for 43 years and I still live in the our house.”

And Mr Rose said loneliness did affect him. He added: “I’m glad I’ve got my family and I see them every weekend and I do quite a lot of walking but I’ve felt welcomed today.”

Other venues are now being encouraged to sign up to host a Meet Up Mondays event, with the advantage of publicity on the scheme’s social media and in this newspaper.

The next event at No 8 Thorpe Road will be on May 14, from 12pm to 2pm.

For more information, search Meet Up Mondays Norfolk on Facebook, follow @MeetUpMondaysEA on Twitter, email meetupmondaysnorfolk@gmail.com or call 01603 473732.

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