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Kingfisher pub helping to fight loneliness with Meet Up Mondays

PUBLISHED: 17:45 11 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:45 11 October 2020

Penny Youngs-Debnam, landlady of the Kingfisher pub in Ipswich, where a new Meet Up Mondays event is being held Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Penny Youngs-Debnam, landlady of the Kingfisher pub in Ipswich, where a new Meet Up Mondays event is being held Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Popular Ipswich pub The Kingfisher is helping to beat social isolation in the wake of lockdown, by joining the Meet Up Mondays network.

Penny Youngs-Debnam, landlady of the Kingfisher pub in Ipswich, where a new Meet Up Mondays event is being held Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPenny Youngs-Debnam, landlady of the Kingfisher pub in Ipswich, where a new Meet Up Mondays event is being held Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The pub, in Hawthorn Drive, is now holding a regular get-together from 9.30am to 11.30am every Monday for anyone who is feeling fed up with being on their own and wants to make new friends.

Landlady Penny Youngs-Debnam is organising the meet-ups together with social prescribers at Hawthorn Drive Surgery.

“I think it’s very important, especially in these times, to have these meet-ups,” Mrs Youngs-Debnam said.

Debbie Finch of Hawthorn Drive Surgery in Ipswich is an organiser of the new Meet Up Mondays at The Kingfisher pub Picture: DEBBIE FINCHDebbie Finch of Hawthorn Drive Surgery in Ipswich is an organiser of the new Meet Up Mondays at The Kingfisher pub Picture: DEBBIE FINCH

“One woman said to me that she has no contact with anybody.”

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The meet-ups happen before the pub opens for the day, and are in a separate area, with free hot drinks and biscuits as well as friendly chat.

Debbie Finch, a social prescriber at the surgery, said: “During lockdown myself and my colleague Vicky were calling patients to ensure they had access to food and medication. A lot of what came out of those calls was, a lot of people don’t see another human for days, or sometimes weeks or months.

Vicky Vincent of Hawthorn Drive Surgery in Ipswich  is an organiser of the new Meet Up Mondays at The Kingfisher pub Picture: VICKY VINCENTVicky Vincent of Hawthorn Drive Surgery in Ipswich is an organiser of the new Meet Up Mondays at The Kingfisher pub Picture: VICKY VINCENT

“We became concerned, as the days were becoming shorter, that some patients would be sitting indoors with the curtains closed from 4pm.

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“It played on my mind so I approached the wonderful Meet Up Mondays (Rural Coffee Caravan) and Penny from The Kingfisher. Last Monday was our first meet-up and it was wonderful.

“Penny had the log fire going and, although we only had a handful of visitors, the chit chat was flowing. During the meet-up we were also able to signpost a patient to outside organisations.”

People will be put in bubbles of six based on interests, and you do not have to be a patient at Hawthorn Drive.

You can just go along to the meet-up, but if you have queries, you can call The Kingfisher on 01473 680300.

For more details on Meet Up Mondays, visit the website.


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