Drop in for a chat! New Friendship Café to launch in Stow to combat loneliness

by Joanna Hammond

Drop in for a chat! New Friendship Café to launch in Stow to combat loneliness

A new Friendship Café in Stow-on-the-Wold aims to combat loneliness and isolation over a cuppa.

Charity Cotswold Friends has teamed up with Brio Retirement Living to help older and isolated people make new friends.

On Tuesday 7th March, they will host the first of their twice-monthly ‘Friendship Café’ drop-in events at Brio Retirement Living, Beechwood Park in Stow.

It will be an opportunity to meet new people, have a friendly chat, and take part in activities, reading and crafts.

Cotswold Friends volunteers will be waiting with a friendly smile - and tea, coffee and cake is included in the entry donation of just £2.

The aim is to help older and vulnerable people who may feel isolated to make new connections in their community.

The Friendship Café will take place between 10.30am and 12pm on the first and third Tuesday each month.

The most recent Census data shows that loneliness has soared, with the Cotswolds having the highest concentration of over 65-year-olds who live alone in Gloucestershire.

The 2021 data shows that there are almost 40,000 pensioners who live on their own in the county.

Cotswold Friends’ mission is to combat loneliness and isolation and the Friendship Café is the charity’s latest initiative to create a regular opportunity to meet new people and make friends.

The charity approached Brio Retirement Living about working together to co-host the event, with the support of Cotswold Friends volunteers, in a bid to ease isolation.

Both organisations are looking forward to the launch of the new Friendship Café, which will offer a safe, friendly, and welcoming environment.

Jo Hammond, CEO of Cotswold Friends, said: “We hope the Friendship Café will encourage people to chat and get to know others in their local area, as we know there is a great need for these opportunities for older and vulnerable people in the North Cotswolds.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing people making more friends in their local community, so they feel less lonely and more supported. Our volunteers will be on hand to assist people, so please do drop in and have a cuppa.”

Trish Staite, General Manager of Brio Retirement Living at Beechwood Park, said: “We are delighted to be working with Cotswold Friends with this new venture.

“Combatting loneliness and isolation within the local community is a high priority for Brio. We will be inviting our Beechwood Park residents to join in with the Friendship Cafes, and I am confident that they will be a welcome addition to our activities calendar.”

The Friendship Café is a drop-in event, so there is no need to book in advance. It will take place at:

Brio Retirement Living, Beechwood Park, Wintergreen Court, Fosseway, Stow-on-the-Wold, GL54 1FP.

Cotswold Friends can arrange Community Transport to take people there and bring them home. Just give their Community Transport Bookings Desk a call on 01608 651115.

To find out more about the Friendship Café, email [email protected] or phone 01608 692811.

For more information, contact Louise Lapworth, Marketing Manager, email [email protected].

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