Isolated and vulnerable older men in Gateshead will be able to have fun and make new friends, thanks to a £10,000 grant to Teams and Bensham Community Care to fund their weekly lunch club.
Grant funds second weekly lunch club
Around 20 local men are already collected by minibus and taken to a lunch club once a week. There they can socialise, take part in quizzes and games, including very popular Wii competitions, and get a home-cooked lunch. Demand is high, and the grant will fund a second weekly lunch club.
Older men are particularly vulnerable to social isolation
Many of those who attend the club are widowers and the club provides an invaluable chance to talk about their loss with others who have gone through the same experience. It is well-established that older men are far less likely to talk about their feelings than women.
Older men are also much more likely to lose their social networks following the death of a spouse; their wives tended to be the ones who maintained social networks, as well as the ones who usually prepared meals. Club members often tell staff that having a proper home-cooked lunch is something they especially enjoy.
Improving physical and mental health
The benefits of regular social interaction on both physical and mental health are well recognised, with major improvements to both.
Michelle Scott, Trustee at Teams and Bensham said:
“I’m very grateful to Durham freemasons for their generous grant. Older men can be very difficult to reach, and we’ve found that our lunch club is a really good way to break their isolation and help them to lead more fulfilling lives.”
John Arthur from Durham freemasons said:
“We’re very pleased to be able to help Teams and Bensham expand their work with older men in Gateshead. There are far too many who are isolated, lonely and vulnerable, and the opportunity to make new friends, have fun and get a good home-cooked lunch can make a huge difference to their lives.”