Village pub launches café to tackle loneliness

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Tackling loneliness: A Norfolk pub has launched a café to bring people together
Tackling loneliness: A Norfolk pub has launched a café to bring people together

Related tags Norfolk Food Public house Social responsibility

The Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry, Norfolk has opened a community café which helps combat loneliness through providing a place for locals to socialise.

The pub reopened in June after being purchased by more than 400 members of the community in June 2021. A key focus of the venue is to address physical and mental health problems and poor access to healthy foods in the area.

The café, which has been named the Pub Café, was opened with a Community Services Fund grant from Pub is the Hub, the​ not-for-profit organisation that helps pubs to diversify and provide essential local services.

Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise spokesman Jim McNeill said: “The organising committee and volunteers have worked tirelessly to buy, renovate and reopen the Blue Bell as a community pub and café at the heart of its local community.

Social impact

“We work closely with the parish council on initiatives around helping to reduce poverty and are actively collaborating with other community groups to maximise our social impact.”  

With new café manager Chloe Gibson at the helm, it will offer homemade cakes, teas and coffees from local Kings Lynn supplier Tropic Coffee.

The café also allows organisations including the local walking group, cyclists and Cribbage Club to use its facilities.

Elderly Persons Lunches are also held once a week, offering wholesome meals at discounted prices for the high population of elderly people in the area. There are plans for this to be extended to twice a week.

Forming connections

Pub is the Hub regional advisor Terry Stork said the pub’s committee should feel proud of the vision and hard work they had put into reopening the site, with its services being “of great benefit” to locals.

He added: “This community café will be really key in helping local people to connect, particularly after the pandemic lockdowns which caused many elderly people in the area to experience feelings of loneliness.” 

The pub has also launched a fruit and veg market in its garden where customers can donate and buy locally grown surplus produce.

The venue offers classic pub dishes including burgers and homemade chicken and pot pie as well as desserts such as Dann’s Farm Norfolk ice-creams.

Related topics News

Related news

Show more