CAMRA has launched a campaign to promote the important role pubs play in tackling loneliness and social isolation, such as offering free dinners for the elderly or hosting chatty table schemes.
CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said: “There’s something about the colder months when it is harder to enjoy the outdoors that makes winter particularly isolating for some.
“That’s why we want to highlight the role pubs play in providing social networks for so many while connecting people to events happening in their area.
“It’s easy to get involved – if you’re a licensee, just drop us a line and we will do our best to spread the word about your events.
“If you’re somebody who’s looking to make new friends this winter, visit our website to find valuable resources and events near you. We hope to make a real difference this winter and the more people who get involved the greater impact we can have – so start sharing your stories and events today.”
The Campaign to End Loneliness has also thrown its support behind the promotion providing resources and materials for both pub-goers and licensees looking to organise events.
Campaign to End Loneliness director Robin Hewings said: “There are nine million lonely people in the UK, and about four million of those are older people. They lack the companionship, friendship and support we all need.
“In our own polling, we found pubs are the place people feel most comfortable starting conversations in.
“Pubs are a great space for people to connect. Even just a small chat can make a big difference to someone who feels lonely.”
Stand-up comedian John Robins has applauded the initiative: “With so many community assets lost due to a lack of funding, government cuts and the move from high-street shopping to the internet, our pubs are a more important resource than ever before.
“While it would be wrong to link alcohol consumption with positive mental health, many pubs are about much more than alcohol.
“In some villages and towns, they are now the only communal area, where regulars, neighbours and visitors can check in on each other. Even a polite two-minute chat can be a vital source of contact for those who would otherwise be isolated and lonely.”
To find out more about the campaign and local events, visit camra.org.uk/loneliness
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