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Beyond Housing helps reduce loneliness and isolation for customers

Beyond Housing residents from Staithes and Sleights enjoy tea and cakes at the Memory Lane session at Danby Village Hall

Eight Beyond Housing customers from Sleights and Staithes enjoyed a lively and engaging Memory Lane Lunch at Danby Village Hall.

Hosted by Community Interest Company Revival North Yorkshire and funded by The Big Lottery, the lunches were introduced to help combat loneliness and isolation in rural areas, where limited public transport often leaves some of the older residents with few opportunities for social activities.

The sessions offer a chance for people to get together and meet up with old and new friends while enjoying a traditional meal together.

The packed session included a spirited hour of singing along to old favourites led by Musical Memories, a social enterprise group which specialises in providing fun, social singing sessions for older people in rural communities.

Reminiscence and memorabilia activities are often included, along with invited guests from a number of organisations and agencies, including dementia charity Making Space and local GP surgeries, who will regularly share the lunch and chat with people at their tables.

Beyond Housing Community Involvement Officer Kelly Brown said, “Preventing social isolation by helping to keep our rural tenants connected is very important as loneliness can have such a negative impact on a person’s life.

“Each Memory Lane Lunch session I have attended with our residents has been such a joyful and uplifting experience as everyone catches up or makes friends with new people before having a good sing-song together. We have even had old friends reacquaint at the sessions which was just wonderful as they thought that they would never meet again.”

Debbie Swales from Revival North Yorkshire said, “After three years of running Memory Lane Lunches in Danby we are thrilled that The Big Lottery has seen the benefits of what we are achieving and are now supporting us to trial the lunch sessions in both Sleights and Westerdale. We are also delighted to work alongside Kelly Brown from Beyond Housing who is passionate about ensuring the tenants have lots to smile about.”

Staithes resident Julia Brierley said, “Today was absolutely brilliant. We all enjoyed the drive through the beautiful countryside and we love to get together and join in the singing. It was a really lovely afternoon!”