Tackling loneliness with Tuesdays Together

People smiling and holding up raffle prizes

Our weekly meet-up at Foundry Court in Manningtree is providing a warm, safe space for company and conversation.

Eastlight's popular community centre, Foundry Court, hosts many community activities for local organisations. This includes Tendring District Council’s Community Voluntary Services, who gave out thermals and hot water bottles as part of their Winter Warmer campaign in December, and Tuesdays Together.

Tuesdays Together was started by Mell Robinson, Eastlight's Community Partner (Foundry Court) & Aids and Adaptations Administrator, in April 2022 because she knew that people were suffering social isolation and were also not putting their heating on and needed a warm, safe space. Mell successfully obtained a Community Grant of £6,304 to run the weekly session, which is led by four volunteers and Mell. As well as reducing isolation, the meet-up helps attendees to access support for other issues.

Mell says: “We recently helped a very distressed attendee of the group to access mental health services. We host a ‘café’ for survivors of addiction at the same time, which is run by a mental health charity. We made a referral for the person, who had reached crisis point.”

The group also makes a life-changing difference for an attendee living with dementia. Mell says: “One of our regulars suffers from dementia and Parkinson’s disease. He is very quiet, but he started to bring his guitar and to play and sing. After he plays for a while (he is very good) he opens up and chats away with everyone; it seems to stimulate his memory and his ability to talk.”

Attendees are also sign-posted to the Manningtree and District Foodbank, which runs at the centre during the same time as Tuesdays Together. The foodbank also offers benefits support.

What’s next for Tuesdays Together?

Over the next three months, anyone who attends a session will be given tins of soup, beans or noodles. There will be a quiz each month, with prizes (one lucky person won a slow cooker at the Christmas Party!) and the centre will partner with other groups to host more activities, such as exercise classes.

How do people register an interest?

You can just turn up. But if you're a little daunted by walking into a room on your own, Mell or her volunteers are happy to meet you outside and walk in with them. Those interested can call Senior Volunteer, Tracey, on 07773867377, or the centre on 01206 397283.

Opening times are the first, second and third Tuesdays of each month from 11 am until 1pm.

Find out more about the centre here: https://www.foundrycourt.co.uk/