Pubs ‘brewing good’ to combat loneliness at Christmas

100 pubs across the country are to host lunches for socially isolated and vulnerable people this Christmas, as part of a campaign to tackle loneliness.

The lunches have been organised by Heineken through its Star Pubs & Bars chain to demonstrate how the Great British pub is often at the heart of communities and a place where people from all walks of life can come together.

As part of the ‘Brewing Good Cheer’ campaign, each of the participating pubs will put on a three-course Christmas meal for people who are experiencing loneliness and social isolation in their communities.

Brewing Good Cheer was launched in 2016 and has helped over 2,000 lonely or socially isolated people in the last three years to network and make new friends.

The campaign comes as new figures from Age UK reveal that 1.7 million older people in England can go for a month without meeting up with a friend, and that 300,000 over 65s have not even had a conversation with family or friends over the same period.

Research commissioned by the charity also found that half a million older people across the UK are expecting to feel lonely this Christmas, of whom 4 in 5 (79%) have not sought any help for this. For half of those (52%), loneliness has become a ‘normal’ part of life.

The study also found that for more than half a million older people, Christmas isn’t something to look forward to because it brings back too many memories of people who have passed away and happier times.

In addition, more than 230,000 older people who will be on their own at least one day over the Christmas period (from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day) say they have no choice, it’s just how it is. Against this context it is little surprise that more than 530,000 people aged 65 and over aren’t looking forward to Christmas because for them it’s ‘just another day.’

‘There is far more awareness now of the problem of loneliness and as a result I think many families and friends make a real effort to be kind to older people, especially at this time of year,’ said Age UK charity director, Caroline Abrahams.

‘However, as our new research shows, sadly, some older people are still being left out in the cold and have no one at all to turn to for advice or support. So, as well as doing your bit to be friendly to the older people you know please support us so we can be there for those who really are almost always on their own. No one should have to live like that in old age.’

This winter the charity’s No one should have no one to turn to campaign aims to raise awareness of the vital and often life-changing support their free information and advice offers.

Heineken spokesman David Paterson commented: ‘There really is no place like the Great British pub – it’s the place where relationships start, friendships are cemented and memories made. We believe pubs are at the heart of communities and we’re proud to be working once again with so many pub landlords up and down the country who want to make a positive difference not just during the Christmas period, but all year round.

‘We hope through Brewing Good Cheer we’re able to continue raising awareness of the issue of social isolation and inspires more people and publicans, to get involved and brew some good cheer this Christmas!’’



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