Loneliness campaign: Friendship Lunches expand into second South Yorkshire venue

Kathy Markwick and Stewart Dean, who organised the Friendship Lunch t the Toby Inn in Dodworth. Picture Scott Merrylees
Kathy Markwick and Stewart Dean, who organised the Friendship Lunch t the Toby Inn in Dodworth. Picture Scott Merrylees
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Friendship Lunches in South Yorkshire are to expand after the first event aimed at lonely older people went down a storm last month.

The organiser of a lunch in Barnsley was inspired by similar events in North Yorkshire, which began on the first anniversary of the Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign last year.

Now, another monthly event is set to begin in Sheffield, with the first being held on Monday. They have been organised by Kathy Markwick, who previously set up tea parties in South Yorkshire on behalf of Barnsley Rockley Rotary Club.

Her first Friendship Lunch saw 22 older people come together at the Toby Carvery in Dodworth, in July, and was such a success that is now going to be held every Monday. What’s more, she has gained the support of the Crosspool Tavern in Crosspool, Sheffield, which will hold its first event on Monday, August 8.

Mrs Markwick, who works at Sheffield-based care organisation Home Instead Senior Care, said: “We were really pleased with how the first event went in Dodworth. Everybody who came along really enjoyed themselves, so much so we are going to hold a themed Friendship Lunch with games every Monday, with a larger event with entertainment once a month.

“We already have people interested in the first event in Crosspool, on Monday, which will feature a singer.

“If we can replicate what Friendship Lunches are doing in North Yorkshire, we will all be having a major impact on the huge and growing problem of loneliness and social isolation.”

To book a place at Monday’s lunch at the Crosspool Tavern, call 0114 266 2113.