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1st Jul, 2022

Stratford College to help lonely people form friendships

A FRIENDSHIP Lunch Club aims to tackle loneliness and isolation in Stratford.

The scheme is being run by Stratford College for a second year this month.

It will be held at the college’s Brazz Restaurant, on Thursdays at 12pm, starting January 9.

Hospitality students will seat guests at communal tables so diners can sit together for lunch and form new friendships. Everyone is welcome whether single or part of a couple or group.

A set menu is available for £5.50 including two courses and tea or coffee.

Recent studies found 1.9 million older people in the UK often feel ignored or invisible and 3.6million older people live alone – more than half of who are over 75.

College spokeswoman Shelley McGonigle said: “It is generally accepted that a lack of companionship can have a very negative affect on mental and physical health, and that tackling this issue improves people’s wellbeing and quality of life. That is why we believe in the importance of our Friendship Lunch Club – it relieves loneliness by bringing people together in a friendly, relaxed setting.”

The idea for the project came from Shelley’s catering students who were eager to combat social isolation and promote positive mental health.

Shelley added: “The students are to be commended for their commitment to the community and to helping the elderly in particular feel a sense of belonging. They are a credit to the college and I am immensely proud of them.”

Since its launch in November, attendance has soared from eight guests to over 65 during its last session in May.

To book a place call 01789 266245 or email hello@stratford.ac.uk.

If residents know of anyone struggling or who spends time alone, they can pass on contact details to college catering students and staff who will get in touch with the individual.

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