DID you know that 1 in 10 elderly people see their friends and family less than once a month?

More than half of all people aged over 75 live alone. Studies have shown that there is a strong link between loneliness in elderly people and depression, and a lack of social interaction has even been linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Loneliness among the elderly is a big issue. So at St Paul’s Church in Sarisbury Green, we’ve started Encompass – the lunch club with a difference!

Once a month, older people come together in our church to enjoy a bring-and-share meal together, followed by a little light entertainment, all provided by members of the group.

Having members of the group bring food, a packed lunch or something to share around, and entertainment gives them a purpose and a reason to come along. Sometimes joining new groups can be daunting, so to be able to bring something to share makes it easier. Sharing food also encourages conversation!

After eating, we enjoy monologues, choirs, musicians and quizzes together – quizzes are especially good for getting strangers talking to each other! It doesn’t take long for the strangers in the group to turn into friends.

We open our doors and offer our friendship to any older person who would like it – we welcome anyone and everyone. Sessions start at 12 noon on the first Tuesday of every month, usually lasting for a couple of hours.