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Age UK brings café society to Dorset

 Charity brings local people together online to attack loneliness during lockdown

With winter upcoming, and a second national lockdown now in effect, loneliness is a growing problem for older people. To keep local older people connected, Age UK North, South & West Dorset (NSWD) is launching a new online ‘café’ next Friday, 13 November at 11am.

The new virtual café will be held via Zoom twice a week, every Wednesday and Friday at 11am, and will last approximately one hour.

This innovative virtual coffee morning offers the opportunity for older people to make a hot drink, sit down in their own homes and connect with others to chat, make friends and have some fun during these difficult times.

Age UK NSWD is currently working to ensure that the coffee mornings are always lively, with varied activities and topics of conversation. The events will be hosted by a member of the local Age UK team.

It’s free to join the virtual café, and participants can also make a voluntary donation via PayPal, Just Giving via our website or by cheque. This will help us to continue our vital work in our local community during the COVID lockdown and to keep us ‘Here for Generations’.

Shockingly, over 1 million older people in the UK are chronically lonely. Our national research shows that loneliness is particularly acute in areas of West Dorset, and very high in areas of North Dorset and Purbeck.

Operations Manager, Sarah Frigot said: “We are determined to tackle the scourge of loneliness during lockdown.

“There are isolated older people everywhere, who, perhaps because of bereavement or family living far away, are utterly alone.

“Our online café is a chance for older residents to brighten their day with a natter and a cuppa. 

“Think about who you have spoken to today. Maybe you had a chat with your partner over breakfast, or said hello to a neighbour. Perhaps you phoned a friend. Think of all the people you have spoken to today, even during lockdown, or over the past week or the past month.

“Then think about how silent life would be if you removed all of those conversations.

“That’s what life is like for more than a million older people who are chronically lonely and who don’t have someone to share daily life with. Many of these people will be entirely alone during this second lockdown, and again at Christmas.”

At Age UK NSWD, our services help to tackle loneliness all year round, such as befriending services, exercise classes, creative activities and in-home support.

Sarah Frigot continued: “Here at Age UK NSWD, now more than ever, we believe that no one should have no one. So we are working hard to provide support all year round, as well as during lockdown and over Christmas - to help older people who are alone in our community.”

To join the coffee morning please call us on 01305 269444 or email wellbeingservice@ageuknswd.org.uk  - we will then provide log on details. Help can also be available to assist with getting online and accessing Zoom.