Organisers of Meet up Mondays to tackle loneliness want to make it a ‘household name’
A tide of generosity has swept across Suffolk where more than 20 venues are hosting sessions in the fight against loneliness.
Organisers of Meet up Mondays are “delighted by the enthusiastic response” to the scheme, which was launched earlier this year.
Ann Osborn from the Rural Coffee Caravan and Sally Connick from Community Action Suffolk issued a rallying call two months ago for venues to take a stand against loneliness and “show Suffolk is a really caring county”.
Since then, they have been inundated with requests from cafes, tearooms, pubs and even a bingo hall looking to get involved.
The idea is to is to give people who may struggle to meet others at least one day each week to get out and socialise.
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Venues provide free tea and toast and a welcoming atmosphere without labelling people lonely.
The Angel Inn in Woodbridge, which joined the scheme last month. Landlord Chris Mapey said he tried to keep the sessions flexible. “The big driver for us is that we have always seen the pub as that great place where people go to meet others and have new experiences,” he added. “However that seems to have been lost a bit recently, with social media and people staring at their phones. It’s about getting people together and showing them that there like-minded people going through similar difficulties.”
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Other venues to sign up include The Smock in Ipswich, The Rec Cafe in Stowmarket, Clare Antiques and Interiors and the Mecca Bingo Cafe in Ipswich. The Butcher’s Arms in Knodishall, near Leiston, is to host its first event today, while the Turks Head in Hasketon is due to start hosting sessions from next week. The Rose Inn in Shotley is to host its sessions on Tuesdays.
Mrs Osborn said it had started a chain reaction of kind gestures.
“Kindness does indeed begat kindnesss,” she added.
“We honestly believe this really does have the most enormous potential and it’s our ambition to make MeetUpMondays a household name.
“There is honestly no catch. If you are fed up with looking at the same four walls, find your nearest one and pop along, meet new people, make new friends. It would also be lovely if folk who like a good chat would drop by and simply be there so that the more anxious, for whom it’s a big step, will definitely have someone ready and willing to chat to. We would encourage everyone to spread the word. And potential hosts, please get in touch.”
Visit Meet up Mondays for information.
List of venues:
Weaver’s Tea room , Peasenhall
Chilli Farm, Mendlesham
The Bear Inn, Beyton
The Greyhound, Ipswich
The George, Hadleigh
Boos Bar, Bury St Edmunds
Farmers Kitchen, Alburgh
Norman Warrior, Lowestoft
White Horse, Sudbury
Steakhouse Red Lodge
Coastguard Cottages Tea Rooms, Dunwich
Clare Antiques and Interiors
The Deben Lounge, Debenham Sports and Leisure Centre
The Smock, Ipswich
The Angel, Woodbridge
The Rec Community Cafe, Stowmarket
Mecca Bingo Cafe, Ipswich
The Butchers Arms, Knodishall
The Turks Head, Hasketon (From Monday, June 11)
The Rose Inn, Shotley (From Tuesday, June 12)