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Barton Lunch Club Launch

Published on 22 January 2020 11:23 AM

IN THE bustle of the morning Barton traffic, it is hard to contemplate the idea that anyone in the town is lonely, but according to a chart compiled by Age UK, areas to the north put residents in a high risk category.

Compiled in 2016, and using 2011 Census data, the charity's Risk of Loneliness in England map shows that streets around Butts Road, Queens Avenue and Maltkiln Road, for example, are 'very high risk' areas for isolated people over the age of 65. To the south of the town, streets around Bowmandale, Providence Crescent, Brigg Road and the Market Place were given a 'high risk' status.

The heat map was created using marital status, self-reported health status, age and household size, and remains a tool not only used by Age UK but also organisations bringing groups of people together who would otherwise be confined to their homes.

One such organisation is Age UK Lindsey, a brand partner of the national charity covering West Lindsey, East Lindsey and North Lincolnshire. Active in Barton, Age UK Lindsey is teaming up with The George Inn, in George Street, to offer a new-style lunch club for people over 50.

Sue White, Service Manager (Core Charity Services), said: “The landlord of the pub, Peter Storey, emailed us to ask if it was something we would like to help with as they wanted to give something back to the community. The customers of The George Inn like chatting to the staff and Peter and his team felt that they were in a position to keep an eye out for people, particularly if they haven't seen them for a few days.

“The closure of so many banks and post offices has meant that older people are going unnoticed. They would, in the past, regularly collect their pensions, or be out and about paying bills, and if someone didn't show up, a member of staff would have noticed. Nowadays, with everything being online, people are becoming more isolated and communities are no longer noticing when someone isn't where they should be.”

The new lunch club will start on Monday, January 27, from noon until 1.30pm, and will offer a hot meal of traditional fare – such as a nice stew and slow roast meats in the winter months – and a hot drink, all for £3.50.

Landlord Peter said: “We are hoping to reach out to people that don't socialise, in addition to keeping the pub at the centre of the community. We do notice when our regulars aren't here, and our staff show concern for their wellbeing if we haven't seen someone for a few days.

“It is also well documented that pubs have been closing down in recent years, so a lunch club has the potential to benefit everyone.”

With that in mind, new pub lunch clubs opening through Age UK Lindsey across the region are bringing friends together, and some have found that their meetings are no longer restricted to once a week, or fortnight. New pals are catching up with far more frequency, in the warmth of a cosy pub, where the long opening hours make it easier to plan a catch up.