Community lunch club hopes to battle social isolation

Students at Outwood Academy City held a special lunch for the community as part of The Link Community Centre Pilot. Morgan Starkes, 11, and Kay Heath are pictured getting the lunch ready.
Students at Outwood Academy City held a special lunch for the community as part of The Link Community Centre Pilot. Morgan Starkes, 11, and Kay Heath are pictured getting the lunch ready.
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Young and old came together to celebrate the first community lunch of a new pilot programme to tackle social isolation.

Students from Outwood Academy in Sheffield prepared and served food before sitting down to chat with older people in their community at the brand new ‘lunch club,’ organised as part of The Link Community Hub Pilot.

Helen Eadon, community development worker at The Link, in Stradbroke, said: “It was an excellent event, we were so pleased with the turnout, which saw people in their 40s right up to their 90s attend.

“Social isolation isn’t something that just affects the elderly and, at The Link, this is something we’re well aware of. There are people who go to work all day, where they don’t really talk to anyone, then come home, close their doors and don’t see anyone all evening. It is our hope the lunch club will give people the chance to come and socialise with others in their community and make their own links and friendships.

“It was also a great inter-generational event and we were thrilled to see 12 and 13-year-old students chatting away happily with people in their 90s - it’s exactly what we’re about.”

The event was hosted at Outwood Academy on an inset day, and the lunch ingredients were provided by the local Asda store.

“Ten students gave up their day off to come in and prepare meat and potatoe pie for the lunch,” said Helen.

“Henderson’s Relish donated a bottle to every attendee and, once the food had been served, everyone sat and ate together and chatted. We even had councillors and officers from SheffieldCouncil housing services come along to see what we’re doing and, as a result, they’re looking into funding some of our future events.”