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Staff blog: Have you heard about #MeetUpMondays?

#MeetUpMondays have arrived in Suffolk, a concept borne out of The Alexandra pub in Wimbledon where landlord, Mick Dore, wanted to do something for those living in the neighbourhood who were lonely.

Every Monday, The Alexandra offers free tea, coffee and sandwiches to those who would like company and the opportunity to meet or be around others.

Mick said:
“Lots of folk come in as soon as we open the doors at 11am, and I love that. Them coming in early means it’s an absolute certainty that anybody who comes for the first time is bound to have somebody to chat to, somebody who will make them feel welcome.”

A family member of an elderly lady who attends #MeetUpMondays said:
“I just wanted to say thank you. My nan has been coming for the past few weeks and is thoroughly enjoying getting out and meeting new people, something she doesn’t normally like doing.  Yesterday I came with her and can see why she loves it, everyone is so friendly and I was amazed at what the staff put on for everyone. So to everyone, thank you for making nan feel good again. For anyone who is thinking about going, stop thinking and just go!”

The Weavers tea room in Peasenhall is the first Suffolk establishment to give it a go, and already has sponsors (Freshpac and Marybelle). Sara who owns and runs The Weavers wanted to offer Peasenhall residents a place to meet, feel welcomed and enjoy some particularly those most lonely and isolated.

Seven local residents enjoyed free tea and toast at their first event. One lady explained that she is new to the village and wants to make friends, another brought his dog which helped break the ice! They are now looking for ways to provide activities for younger members of the community, a demonstration of how quickly concepts like this stimulate community activity.

#MeetUpMondays are also being supported Ann Osborn from the Rural Coffee Caravan Information Project. Together, we are looking for more Suffolk tea rooms, cafes and pubs to embrace the idea as these establishments are usually open all week.

#MeetUpMondays can make a huge difference to address loneliness by helping people on their own to connect, or reconnect, with their local community. Once people gain the confidence to visit their local cafe or pub, they then have somewhere they can drop into at anytime, confident of a warm welcome.

Other weekly activities, for example in the the local village hall, do also offer community spirit. However, sometimes when a lonely person relies on these events, they recede into loneliness while waiting for the next event.

Please talk about #MeetUpMondays with your friends and family. If you have a local, speak to the landlord! Ann and I are happy to help interested venues to get started. Look at #MeetUpMondays on Twitter for more information and follow us @Sally_GNS or @coffeecaravan.

Sally Connick, Good Neighbour Scheme Development Officer
[email protected]
01473 345359 / 07884 563370