The “coffee and chat” club to relieve the loneliness of the elderly takes off

Two friends from Oldham have set up a ‘coffee and chat’ club for older members of the community in an effort to alleviate loneliness and isolation.

Anne Thompson and Diane Andrews decided to start their unique club for older members of their community who had become lonely and isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Andrews said: “We came up with the idea of ​​a coffee and discussion group because we recognize that the older members of our community needed a little TLC.

“We live in Woodhouses, which used to be a predominantly pig farming area where most of the cabins were occupied by farmhands and their families.

“But as the pig farms have now all disappeared and new houses have been built, a younger population has moved in and the village church has been without a vicar for some time.

“There are no social ties there like there used to be.

“We felt the social interaction would help their mental and physical well-being as many had not been out of the house since the lockdown.”

The two set to work planning a way to connect with vulnerable and elderly people in the area when Woodhouses Cricket Club offered their place as a meeting place.

The “coffee and cat” club received a generous donation from two charities to help fund day trips.

And since the group was formed in March 2022, up to 30 local residents of Woodhouses and Failsworth now meet at the cricket club every Wednesday between 10am and 12pm.

However, the group does more than just eat cake and chat with the couple organizing “seated yoga” sessions to improve health and mobility and plenty of activities for the group to enjoy.

Ms Andrews said: ‘Everyone loves it and enjoys the company and the exercise.

“Some of our members said they hadn’t been anywhere in ages post-pandemic, and we can see how much our small group has improved their mental and physical well-being.

“I look after my husband who has Parkinson’s disease and he comes with me so that we both have some social interaction, as being a caregiver can be quite isolating.

“Some of our other members are caregivers as well and going out for a short break can be such a relief.”

The non-profit group has applied for grants to help fund the group and has so far received a £100 donation from the Rotary Club of Failsworth and Hollinwood and a £500 donation from McCarthy and Stone, meaning that they can now start planning days. and theatrical outings.

The group recently brought in two police liaison officers to advise members on how to stay safe at home and avoid phone scams.