Dozens ready to attend first loneliness campaign inspired lunch

6 January 2015.......     Michael Ibbotson of the Durham Ox in Crayke near York, with representatives from local organisations to arrange a loneliness luncheon. TJ100650e Picture by Tony Johnson
6 January 2015....... Michael Ibbotson of the Durham Ox in Crayke near York, with representatives from local organisations to arrange a loneliness luncheon. TJ100650e Picture by Tony Johnson
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More than 50 people will sit down to share a meal on Monday for the first Friendship Lunch, inspired by The Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign.

The monthly get-togethers at the Durham Ox in Crayke have been designed to get people of all ages to reach out to others in the area and raise awareness of social isolation in the local community.

Announced as part of the first anniversary of the loneliness campaign, the lunch has been supported by local councils, community groups and organisations, and plans are already gathering pace for the future events.

Durham Ox owners Michael and Sasha Ibbotson said they were delighted with the response to the lunch.

Mrs Ibbotson said: “So many friends and customers have asked us about it and said what a super idea it is. Much like a good party, everyone’s talking about it.

“Places are still available, and we hope that the idea has whet everyone’s appetite to come to the next one if they can’t make this one.”

Micky Johnson, chair of Easingwold and District Over 50s Forum, said the lunches are a “brilliant idea” for anyone who is on their own.

“When my husband died I found it difficult to go out after years of going to places as a couple,” she said. “The lunches are the ideal opportunity to invite someone you know who is in this situation.

“Getting out and meeting people after bereavement is difficult but these lunches offer the first gentle steps to getting out again.”

The Ox has devised a special ‘Keep in Touch’ menu for event, which includes small bites, main courses and puddings, with two courses available for £10.

Transport can be provided for those who may otherwise struggle to get along.

Anyone wishing to come along to the lunch, which starts at 12pm, can contact the Durham Ox on 01347 821506 or email enquiries@durhamox.com