The Inn Collection Group’s Durham city pub, the Kingslodge Inn, will host 100 older people who live alone in the north-east to a free Christmas lunch and party on 3 December.
The event is in support of Abbeyfield’s Companionship at Christmas campaign, which provides vulnerable and isolated people over the age of 55 with free overnight stays, free meals and companionship at Abbeyfield houses.
Inclusive social spaces
The Inn Collection Group operations manager Paul Brown said: “We were incredibly touched by the plight of older people whose lives are blighted by loneliness and felt it was our duty as an operator to step in to do something about this.
“Pubs are absolutely unique. They are so much more than just a place to eat and have a drink. For us, it’s about creating inclusive social spaces that provide our customers with a place of regular interaction, which is especially important for older people.
“We encourage staff to take time to chat with customers and get to know their regulars and be on the lookout for people experiencing loneliness.
“We are very proud to be working together with Abbeyfield and Age UK Durham in the battle against social isolation – not just during the Christmas season, but for the rest of the year too – and will be looking to roll out more inclusive events for isolated people across our estate of inns.”
Abbeyfield director of fundraising Alastair Mulvie added: “Pubs are at the heart of the community and play a huge role in tackling social isolation.
“They can be like a family for people, helping to fill the void loneliness leaves.
“They offer a real hub function within their communities providing a secure environment where older age groups can meet new people.
“We are delighted to be partnering with The Inn Collection Group and Age UK Durham and hope to increase the number of pubs we work with as we continue to address social isolation which was the very reason why Abbeyfield was formed more than 60 years ago.”
Pubs planning to open their doors to socially isolated customers over Christmas are being invited to share event details via digital pub and bar platform Useyourlocal free of charge.
Contents and communications manager Rachael Honey commented: “There are pubs all over the UK that are providing much-needed companionship to isolated people during the festive period and we feel it’s incredibly important to support that.
“If free access to our service means those pubs are able to connect with even one more person who might otherwise be spending the Christmas period alone, we’ll be delighted.
“Hopefully we are able to get as many pubs as possible involved to make that happen”