Cromer-based charity About with Friends launches new lunch club for over 60s

A new lunch club battling rural isolation for people aged over 60-years-old has been launched in Cromer.

Organised by charity About with Friends, today's event saw a hot two-course dinner served to 28 people, who also enjoyed an afternoon of entertainment with bingo, cards, dominos and snooker.

Dolly Barber, 85, of Sheringham, arrived by transport provided by the charity and said it was the first time she had met new people since her husband's death last July.

She added: 'I made the effort because I'm on my own and at my time of life this club is something I need. Everyone here is pleasant and I'm amazed at the companionship and I'm overwhelmed at the hospitality.'

For the launch event, diners were treated to a free lunch, and from Monday, January 30, they will be able to enjoy a dinner and entertain for �5.

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Lifts will also be offered to people from Sheringham, Mundesley and other outlying villages for a charge between 50p and �2.

Lyn Hind, who has worked at About with Friends on Holt Road for two years as catering manager, said she hopes the club will grow.

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She added: 'It started with a grant we had from Victory housing to do a lunch in Cromer and so far it's been really positive.

'We want to maybe introduce a loyalty scheme and we hope it will grow so that we can offer it on other days.

'We've already had 15 people book up for the next lunch.'

Mrs Hind stressed that the club is not just about getting a hot meal but also making sure people are not isolated in their homes.

'I think in the little villages it can be quite lonely,' she said.

'When you get older and may be left on your own, especially with no transport, it's not that easy to get out and make friends. They want a little more than just somewhere to eat.'

Lesley Thompson, 64, of Cromer helps care for her husband and echoed that ethos. She said: 'I wanted to do something that gives me more company - it's important to have organisations like this.'

The lunch club, in partnership with Norfolk Community Foundation, will run from 11am to 2pm every Monday and is open to anybody aged over 60 living in a seven mile radius of Cromer.

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