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Clutch of new venues sign up for loneliness-tackling scheme

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

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A number of new venues have signed up to a simple scheme which aims to tackle loneliness in Norfolk.

Rachel Hogg and Chris Elliott of the Benjamin Foundation, 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 BRADLEYRachel Hogg and Chris Elliott of the Benjamin Foundation, 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

Meet Up Mondays launched in the county last month and two successful events have already been held in Norwich.

But now, more organisations have come on board to provide space for a cup of tea and a chat to alleviate isolation.

The first two events were run by Sarah Daniels, at No 8 Thorpe Road. She said: “The key was getting some like-minded souls to help, and the rest they say is history. We are good to go.”

This inspired Elaine Reilly, from Mustard Coffee Bar in Bridewell Alley, Norwich, to come on board.

She said she thought it was a “really good idea as lots of people wander into the shop alone”.

And she added it was not just the elderly who were affected, but people of all ages.

She said: “There are lot of overseas students and local student who don’t know where to go to talk to people.”

Bob Cameron from the Shoulder of Mutton pub in Norwich Road, Strumpshaw, was also inspired.

He said living in a rural area with a small population meant there were a number of elderly people in the area who were lonely, and he felt as a village pub they could help.

He added: “It’s a couple of hours to talk as well as the opportunity to meet other people to do things with outside of it too.”

Charity the Benjamin Foundation, based in St Andrews Street, Norwich, were among the first to sign up.

Marketing and fundraising manager Chris Elliott said they already had a similar initiative in Thetford. He added: “The reality is it’s all about giving a simple chance for people to get out of the house.”

Meet Up Mondays was first started at The Alexandra pub in Wimbledon earlier this year and since has taken off as a country-wide phenomenon.

• The next few events are at No 8 Thorpe Road, on May 21, from noon (11am to take part in free dementia friends training), Mustard Coffee Bar on June 5 from 9am, the Shoulder of Mutton on June 11 from 10am, and at the Benjamin Foundation on July 9, from noon.


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