Blokes at the Oakes, a new club for older men, launches at Oakes Barn in Bury St Edmunds

The launch of Blokes at the Oakes social group for older men (organised by Age UK Suffolk) at Oakes

The launch of Blokes at the Oakes social group for older men (organised by Age UK Suffolk) at Oakes Barn in Bury. L-R: Frank Boggis, Syd Lagden, Maurice Scrivener, Peter Chapman, Dave Staines and Gavin Hodge (community involvement / liason oficer - Age Uk). - Credit: Archant

A new group to bring older men together to help alleviate feelings of isolation has been launched in Bury St Edmunds.

Men popped into Oakes Barn in St Andrew’s Street South on market day yesterday for the first Blokes at the Oakes meeting.

The club has been started by Age UK Suffolk to help alleviate loneliness by keeping men socially connected after retirement. The charity is also working with the East Anglian Daily Times to address loneliness in the county through the campaign Shine a Light on Loneliness.

Maurice Scrivener, 77, who turned out yesterday, said: “I just lost my wife a year ago and I’m starting to get out.”

Dave Staines, 67, said he came along because he was “curious”. “We have got groups for women, but we don’t have that many groups for men, do we?”

When asked if he ever feels lonely, Mr Staines, who lives on his own, said: “I think everybody gets lonely at times, but I do try to make the effort to get out.

“But even so you can feel lonely, and at something like this [the club] you can get out and meet other people and share your experiences and have a laugh.”

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Gavin Hodge, of Age UK Suffolk, said the charity could also signpost people to services and support, such as Suffolk Family Carers, at the club. “There’s so much help out there, it’s knowing about it that’s the problem.”

Blokes at the Oakes meet on the first Wednesday at every month. People can drop in from 10.30am.