Zoom may not be everyone’s cup of tea but Age UK for North, West and South Dorset are trialling virtual coffee mornings to keep everyone in touch over lockdown.
Older Swanage residents are invited to join in the online sessions, that are hosted by the charity for anyone who fancies seeing a friendly face for a chat.
These ‘cafés’ are on twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 am via Zoom to help Dorset’s older people get through the social isolation of lockdown and the lack of opportunity to get out of the house over winter.
These meetings are free and last for about an hour. People are being asked to spread the word to anyone they think may benefit from the virtual café.
Charity takes on “scourge of loneliness”
Age UK estimates that one million old people across the nation are suffering with chronic loneliness, and its research shows that loneliness is particularly acute in areas of West Dorset, and very high in areas of North Dorset and Purbeck.
Regional operations manager for Age UK, Sarah Frigot said:
“We are determined to tackle the scourge of loneliness during lockdown.
“There are isolated older people everywhere, who, perhaps because of bereavement or family living far away, are utterly alone. Our online café is a chance for older residents to brighten their day with a natter and a cuppa.
“Think about who you have spoken to today. Maybe you had a chat with your partner over breakfast, or said hello to a neighbour. Perhaps you phoned a friend. Think of all the people you have spoken to today, even during lockdown, or over the past week or the past month.
“Then think about how silent life would be if you removed all of those conversations.
“That’s what life is like for more than a million older people who are chronically lonely and who don’t have someone to share daily life with. Many of these people will be entirely alone during this second lockdown, and again at Christmas.”
How to join
Anyone who wants to take part in the virtual coffee mornings should either call Age UK on 01305 269444 or email email@example.com
Assistance will be provided for participants who need help accessing Zoom.
While the sessions themselves are free, donations can be made via PayPal, Just Giving, by cheque or by the charity’s website.
Sarah Frigot added:
“Here at Age UK NSWD, now more than ever, we believe that no one should have no one. So we are working hard to provide support all year round, as well as during lockdown and over Christmas – to help older people who are alone in our community.”