Sheffield pub offering hot meals and music in bid to beat loneliness

Kathy Markwick and Stewart Dean, who organised the Friendship Lunch t the Toby Inn in Dodworth. Picture Scott Merrylees
Kathy Markwick and Stewart Dean, who organised the Friendship Lunch t the Toby Inn in Dodworth. Picture Scott Merrylees
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Friendship lunches in South Yorkshire are to expand after the first event aimed at lonely older people went down a storm last month.

The initiative, which involves inviting people who may feel isolated to attend organised events and make new friends, was first organised in North Yorkshire and has been a runaway success.

Since then, the first friendship lunch in South Yorkshire, held at the Toby Carvery in Dodworth, Barnsley, attracted 22 older people.

Now, a second one has been launched at the Crosspool Tavern in Crosspool on Monday, August 8, from 11.30am to 2.30pm. There will be live singing from Susan St Nicholas. It costs £6 to attend and includes a carvery lunch and desert.

As this is the first event of its kind at the tavern, councillor Denise Fox, the lord mayor of Sheffield, is expected to be a special guest.

They have been organised by Kathy Markwick, who previously set up tea parties in South Yorkshire on behalf of Barnsley Rockley Rotary Club.

Mrs Markwick, who works at Sheffield-based care organisation Home Instead Senior Care, said: “We were really pleased with how the first event went in Dodworth.

“Everybody who came along really enjoyed themselves, so much so we are going to hold a themed friendship lunch with games every Monday, with a larger event with entertainment once a month.

“If we can replicate what friendship lunches are doing in North Yorkshire, we will all be having a major impact on the huge and growing problem of loneliness and social isolation.”

Pub manager Christopher Squire, aged 45, said: “This is a great opportunity for people who may feel lonely or isolated to get together and make new friends. I would urge people to come along and enjoy some great food and entertainment with good people. We are hoping it will really take off and are having the lunches every Monday.”

To book a place at the Crosspool lunch call the tavern on 0114 266 2113.