Abbeyfield are Tackling Social Isolation with Pubs

Leisure operator The Inn Collection Group has teamed up with older people’s charities The Abbeyfield Society and Age UK Durham to use its pubs to tackle social isolation.

The Inn Collection Group’s Durham city pub – The Kingslodge Inn – is inviting 100 older people who live alone in the north east to a free Christmas lunch and party on Monday December 3.

The event is in support of Abbeyfield’s annual Companionship at Christmas campaign, which provides vulnerable and isolated people over 55 with free overnight stays at Abbeyfield houses and homes as well as free meals, entertainment and, critically, companionship in the build up to Christmas and beyond.

Alastair Mulvie, director of fundraising at Abbeyfield said: “Pubs are at the heart of the community and play a huge role in tackling social isolation. They can be like a family for people, helping to fill the void loneliness leaves.

“They offer a real hub function within their communities providing a secure environment where older age groups can meet new people.

“We are delighted to be partnering with The Inn Collection Group and Age UK Durham and hope to increase the number of pubs we work with as we continue to address social isolation which was the very reason why Abbeyfield was formed more than 60 years ago.”

As well as hosting its Christmas Party for older people living alone, The Kingslodge Inn runs regular events including subsidised lunches and coffee mornings for older people affected by loneliness in the Durham area.

Paul Brown, operations manager of The Inn Collection Group, said: “We were incredibly touched by the plight of older people whose lives are blighted by loneliness and felt it was our duty as an operator to step in to do something about this.

“Pubs are absolutely unique. They are so much more than just a place to eat and have a drink. For us, it’s about creating inclusive social spaces that provide our customers with a place of regular interaction, which is especially important for older people.

“We encourage staff to take time to chat with customers and get to know their regulars and be on the look-out for people experiencing loneliness.

“We are very proud to be working together with Abbeyfield and Age UK Durham in the battle against social isolation – not just during the Christmas season, but for the rest of the year, too, and will be looking to roll out more inclusive events for isolated people across our estate of inns.”