Plans for Loneliness campaign-inspired Friendship Lunch gather pace

Michael Ibbotson of the Durham Ox in Crayke, with supporters of the Friendship Lunch.''Picture by Tony Johnson
Michael Ibbotson of the Durham Ox in Crayke, with supporters of the Friendship Lunch.''Picture by Tony Johnson
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A NEW Friendship Lunch inspired by The Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness campaign has attracted a wealth of interest from people keen to come along.

The monthly get-togethers at Durham Ox in Cryke aim to reach out to those in the community who feel lonely or may not get out of the house very often.

Announced in The Yorkshire Post earlier this month, the first event will take place on Monday February 9 as part of commemorations for the first anniversary of the Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign and has been supported by local councils, community groups and organisations.

Michael Ibbotson, the owner of The Durham Ox, said: “The response to the news about the forthcoming Friendship Lunch has been fantastic. It seems to have sparked a lot of interest, not only from people who want to come along, but also to those who are wanting to offer help.

“We are sure these monthly lunches are going to be really fun social occasions, with the opportunity to make new friends and enjoy some good food.”

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.

It is hoped that people will be inspired to bring along a friend or neighbour who may struggle to get out and also make new friends in the relaxed setting of the award-winning country pub.

Those wishing to come alone can be assured of a warm welcome, and transport can be provided for those who may find it difficult to get to the pub.

Mr Ibbotson said the Ox had been approached by various people offering their help, and Easingwold District Community Care (EDCCA), which runs a Community Car Scheme, is also supporting the Friendship Lunch.

The car scheme was set up to help people who have difficulty using public transport and is supported by volunteers.

EDCCA community co-ordinator Jackie Bullough said: “EDCCA is delighted to be involved with this great new initiative at the Durham Ox and we have already identified many of our clients who would love to come along.”

Anyone wishing to come along to the lunch can contact the Durham Ox on 01347 821506 or email For more information on the EDCCA community car scheme, call 01347 822598.