Social isolation amongst older people is a particular issue in rural areas across Wychavon and, through Opportunity Vale of Evesham we began to look at ways of tackling this at a local level.
We worked with the Harvington Social Care Liaison Group to establish a regular lunch club for the over 50s in the village. We gave the parish council a small grant for the lunch club, which is run at the Coach and Horses pub in Harvington. The parish council used the grant for a voucher scheme to encourage residents from the north of the village to attend the lunch club by offering them a small reduction on the cost of a meal.
The lunch club has now been running for around two years and is a key part of village life for around 25 older people in the community. The project not only provides a social focus point for residents but also has enabled them to learn new skills and access services such as IT training on the Computabus and mobile library. A mobile hairdresser attends the lunch club on a regular basis and a number of trips out, such as trips to Weston Super Mare and the theatre have been run.
Recently the project has expanded to include older people from the neighbouring village of Norton. The project is being viewed as good practice in reducing social isolation in rural communities by Worcestershire County Council and South Worcestershire’s Clinical Commissioning Group. As a result of the success of this project several surrounding villages are looking to replicate it in their communities.
“I’m really pleased that at last there was something specifically for older people, much missed since the Seniors’ Club closed.”
Member of the Harvington over 50s lunch club