This Sheffield community project is fighting loneliness in the city

24 February 2022

A Sheffield project is bringing joy to lonely people during the pandemic and welcomes more people to join them.

Kathy Marwick is the organiser of the ‘Friendship Lunches’ in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley, and is also a community consultant who brings people together.

A typical Friendship Lunch involves live music and a two course dinner, the cost is usually around £10 due to help from sponsors.

Ms Marwick said: “I’m really happy for the success of the Friendship Lunches and the joy and anticipation they bring to so many people.

Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates at a lunch in Grenoside

“The loneliness is not just for elderly people and especially because of COVID, people can find themselves lonely for all sorts of reasons.”

Friendship lunches can address the social isolation that has become even more prevalent in local communities due to the pandemic.

The event was moved online during the pandemic so participants from all over the world could get involved with the successful project.

Ms Marwick said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to meet old or new friends, chat and socialize. At the same time, it’s also a great place to share some useful information about health, safety and even fraud prevention.

“This event obviously appeals more to older people, but we welcome people of any age to join us.

“It’s just a nice thing because everybody wants something to look forward with their lives through.”

The parents of the late Jo Cox MP Gordon and Jean Leadbeater are supporters of the lunches

Kathryn Rawling, community liaison coordinator for Sheffcare said: “This simple but effective way of letting people know that they always have a warm welcome place to go helps people avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation.”

Upcoming Friendship Lunches will be held on March 30, April 27, May 25 and June 29.

For further information contact kathymarkwick@gmail.com or Kathy on 0772 9528844.

Written by Aolin Cheng

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