Kesgrave over-60s meet-up 'vital in combatting loneliness'

Dr Dan Poulter MP at Kesgrave Chinwag

Dr Dan Poulter with Kesgrave Community Centre manager Stuart Lawson at the Chinwag event - Credit: Office of Dr Dan Poulter MP

A meet-up group for over-60s in Kesgrave has been praised as being "vital in combatting loneliness" in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Age UK Suffolk started the Big Chinwag event in the town before the pandemic, to give older residents a chance to simply sit down and talk.

The charity was forced to close in 2020 - but funding was found from elsewhere to keep the regular meet-ups going, as fears of isolation grew in the wake of successive lockdowns.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, Dr Dan Poulter, has now praised the Chinwag group after visiting one of its events at Kesgrave Community Centre, which was attended by more than 100 people.

Dr Dan Poulter at Kesgrave Chinwag

Dr Dan Poulter with volunteers at the Kesgrave Chinwag event, which he said was making a valuable contribution in helping to tackle loneliness - Credit: Office of Dr Dan Poulter MP

"It was abundantly clear to see that the residents had missed being together and were making the most of the entertainment and spending time with one another," said the Conservative.

“Loneliness is something many of us never think about when we are surrounded by our family and friends, but lockdowns and Covid restrictions have been difficult for so many people who have missed out on social contact.

"For a great number of older people, loneliness is a day-to-day reality and being lonely can significantly affect their health and well-being.

"Helping to combat loneliness will not just keep people socially active and able to enjoy their lives, it will help keep them from becoming sick and unwell.

"Events such as these are vital in combatting loneliness and it was heartening to join these Kesgrave residents for a chinwag.”

Kesgrave Chinwag event

More than 100 people regularly attend the Kesgrave Chinwag events - Credit: Office of Dr Dan Poulter MP

Dr Poulter praised Kesgrave Community Centre manager Stuart Lawson for helping to organise the event.

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He also thanked East Suffolk Council’s Community Partnership scheme for supporting the Chinwag, which included entertainment such as a quiz, tombola, tea and cake, as well as music by the Singing Sisters.