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‘It’s testament to Suffolk for how friendly they are’ - Meet up Mondays success story

PUBLISHED: 18:09 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:09 26 August 2018

Meet up Mondays at the Turks Head in Hasketon

Meet up Mondays at the Turks Head in Hasketon

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It’s those little kindnesses that help get you through your day that happen at Meet up Mondays (MUM).

Jemima Withey with head chef Chandramauli Dwivedi (Mauli) who  has been in the final five for best UK chef at the Great British Pub Awards for the last two years Picture: CHERRY BEESLEY SIMPLY C PHOTOGRAPHYJemima Withey with head chef Chandramauli Dwivedi (Mauli) who has been in the final five for best UK chef at the Great British Pub Awards for the last two years Picture: CHERRY BEESLEY SIMPLY C PHOTOGRAPHY

This initiative, which is spreading goodwill across Suffolk, now has 35 venues and more are signing up all the time.

Ann Osborn from the Rural Coffee Caravan and Sally Connick from Community Action Suffolk issued a rallying call earlier this year for venues to take a stand against loneliness and “show Suffolk is a really caring county”.

Pub, cafe and shop owners have certainly responded, and all have stories of how the Monday sessions have had a positive impact on people’s lives.

They offer a warm welcome, free drinks and food, and most importantly company.

Jemima Withey, co-owner of the Turks Head, in Hasketon Picture: CHERRY BEESLEY SIMPLY C PHOTOGRAPHYJemima Withey, co-owner of the Turks Head, in Hasketon Picture: CHERRY BEESLEY SIMPLY C PHOTOGRAPHY

Mrs Osborn said she was “absolutely delighted” with how Meet up Mondays has taken off in Suffolk.

“They are still coming on board. The Mix in Stowmarket is coming on board on September 3. There’s a variety of venues and we still want more.”

The Turks Head in Hasketon joined up at the beginning of June and a “wonderful” group of people has built up over time, co-owner Jemima Withey said.

“I must say it’s been a great success story from the start. We generally have between 20 and 25 people every Monday morning and we have had some fabulous friendships forged. People find out about different volunteering they can do and things they are interested in.”

Ann Osborn (left) and Sally Connick from the Meet up Mondays initiative Picture: GREGG BROWNAnn Osborn (left) and Sally Connick from the Meet up Mondays initiative Picture: GREGG BROWN

She added: “ It’s been a great joy and testament to Suffolk for how friendly they are”.

She said one woman told her the Monday meet-ups were her reason for “getting out of bed” and an older lady had come along on her late husband’s birthday as she didn’t want to spend the day on her own.

Mrs Osborn said: “It’s really important the little things are considered important. It’s the little kindnesses that get us through each day, and it’s these little things that happen at Meet up Mondays.”

Mrs Withey does not like to label people as “lonely” and attach any stigma when they have already been so brave to walk through the door on a Monday morning.

Meet up Mondays at the Norman Warrior in Lowestoft Picture: SIMON WEBSTERMeet up Mondays at the Norman Warrior in Lowestoft Picture: SIMON WEBSTER

Mrs Osborn said a variety of ages do get involved with MUM, but they would really encourage more young people to be part of it.

Visit Meet up Mondays for information.

List of Venues:

Meet up Mondays at the Norman Warrior in Lowestoft Picture: SIMON WEBSTERMeet up Mondays at the Norman Warrior in Lowestoft Picture: SIMON WEBSTER

Weaver’s Tea room , Peasenhall

Chilli Farm, Mendlesham

The Bear Inn, Beyton

The Greyhound, Ipswich

The George, Hadleigh

Boosh Bar, Bury St Edmunds

Farmers Kitchen, Alburgh

Norman Warrior, Lowestoft

White Horse, Sudbury

Coastguard Cottages Tea Rooms, Dunwich

Clare Antiques and Interiors, Clare

Barleycorn, Mildenhall

The Smock, Ipswich

The Angel, Woodbridge

The Rec Community Cafe, Stowmarket

The Butchers Arms, Knodishall

Coffeelink, Leiston Co-op, Leiston

The Turks Head, Hasketon

The Rose Inn, Shotley

Tea on the Green, Cavendish

The Butchers Arms, Beccles

Cupcake Cafe, Claydon

Newmarket Leisure Centre, Newmarket

La Tour Cycle Cafe, Ipswich

The Kingfisher, Ipswich

The White Lion, Aldeburgh

The Laydens Community Cafe, Felixstowe

The Sun Inn, Dedham

Cafe 27, Brandon Day Centre, Brandon

The Freston Boot, Freston

The Five Bells, Wrentham

Sam’s Coffee House, Kessingland, Lowestoft

The Griffin Yard, Yoxford

The Ship Inn, Levington

The Mix, Stowmarket - from September 3

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