More than 40 people attended a community afternoon tea in Shrewsbury as part of a nationwide campaign to tackle loneliness.
Hosted by Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin and Marks & Spencer in Shrewsbury, the event, which took place on Wednesday 14 June, provided the opportunity to chat and meet new people from the area over a hot drink and a slice of cake.
Staff and volunteers from the Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin office in Mardol, Shrewsbury were on hand to discuss some of the concerns around loneliness, handing out leaflets about the services the charity offers and signposting people for further information.
This event was just one of thousands taking place around the UK as part of The Great Get Together, a neighbourhood celebration to commemorate the life of MP Jo Cox with the aim of showing that we have more in common than that which divides us.
Rachel Williams, M&S store manager for Shrewsbury, said: ‘At M&S Shrewsbury we pride ourselves on the personal connection we make with our customers, with many of our regular customers becoming friends over time. Every week the team here tell me about examples of how they have been able to support more vulnerable members of the local area with the warm and friendly service they offer.
'The Great Get Together enabled us to meet many more of our local community and help raise awareness and tackle the issue of loneliness. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Age UK and we will continue the partnership repeating this afternoon tea event every quarter.’
Heather Osborne, Chief Executive of Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin, said: ‘We would like to thank the staff at the M&S store in Shrewsbury for hosting the afternoon tea and helping us to support older people and tackle the issue of loneliness. Our staff and volunteers took the time to talk to older people, connecting them with others to create new links and friendships.
'All too often we are seeing how loneliness and isolation affects an older person’s wellbeing with our team handling telephone calls daily. To help tackle loneliness we have over 800 volunteers who give their time to support older people around the county in a variety of roles; our volunteers play an important part supporting our team.’
How you can help
We are inviting coffee shops and cafés across the county to come forward if they would like to host a similar get together. If you'd like to get involved please contact Catherine Collier on 01743 233 123 to register your interest.