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Norwich pub to launch new 
club to combat loneliness

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:51 20 February 2018

Owner of the Louis Marchesi pub in Tombland, Lisa Atkins. Picture: Jacob Massey

Owner of the Louis Marchesi pub in Tombland, Lisa Atkins. Picture: Jacob Massey

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A pub in Norwich is launching a companion club to help tackle the growing issue of loneliness.

The Louis Marchesi pub in Tombland, Norwich. Picture: Jacob MasseyThe Louis Marchesi pub in Tombland, Norwich. Picture: Jacob Massey

The city was named one of the worst in the country for loneliness in research by the Campaign to End Loneliness and the London School of Economics, and the Louis Marchesi pub in Tombland is hoping to combat the problem.

The Lunchtime Companion Club will provide a space where anybody over 50 can socialise and enjoy the company of others in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Owner of the Louis Marchesi, Lisa Atkins, said a conversation with a few regulars inspired 
the idea.

She said: “We have some gentlemen come in every Thursday. They’re all in their eighties, and we were talking one day and one of them said he knows lots of people who are lonely and would like somewhere to go to meet people at lunch time.

The Louis Marchesi pub in Tombland, Norwich. Picture: Jacob MasseyThe Louis Marchesi pub in Tombland, Norwich. Picture: Jacob Massey

“We have a few people who come in on their own regularly and they just want a chat, or they’ll read a book and I think they just want other people around them, rather than sitting around at home on their own.

“One of the guys who comes in here said he met an 84-year-old lady at the supermarket the other day who was just there because she was lonely and wanted to have contact with other people, which is really sad isn’t it?”

Miss Atkins will invite guests to congregate around one large shared table to encourage interaction. Guests will be offered 10pc off the lunch menu with teas and coffees also included.

Miss Atkins said she would 
like to expand the club further once established. She said: “If it takes off I’d like to organise 
days out, like bowling, shopping trips, days on the broads, 
picnics, whatever people are up for doing.”

Owner, Lisa Atkins, stands by a picture of Louis Marchesi, after whom her pub is named. Picture: Jacob MasseyOwner, Lisa Atkins, stands by a picture of Louis Marchesi, after whom her pub is named. Picture: Jacob Massey

Loneliness has been linked with poor physical and mental health and can even lead to premature death. People who are lonely are also more vulnerable to scams.

Laura Alcock-Ferguson, executive director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said loneliness is “completely subjective”, defining it as “someone who is not happy with the quality or quantity of the contacts in their day.”

The first companion club will be held from 11.30am - 2.30pm on Tuesday February 27 and anybody over 50 is welcome to drop in.

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