Coffee morning aimed at bring local pensioners together to socialise

The Asda store at Pier Road, Gillingham has pioneered a special elderly-friendly ‘shop and coffee morning’ for local people, to encourage them to get out and meet others of a similar age.

Rosie Wray, community champion at the Gillingham Pier store, invited older members of the community to the store, between the hours of 11am and 2pm, to do their own shopping before having a hot drink and a chat in the store’s new café.

The ‘Shop and Coffee Morning’, as it has been dubbed, is primarily aimed at elderly people who don’t get out of the house as often as they used to, under the premise that it is never too late to make new friends.

Rosie, who is from Gillingham, said: We are so excited about this project and have been working hard with the council and local charities, Hands and Gillingham Volunteer Centre and Mears, to get the support of the whole community."

“Personally, I get so much enjoyment from seeing elderly members of the community at the store and they always make me smile; I hope we can now make them smile just as much. It’s such a rewarding project and we hope to encourage social interaction as well as ensuring the weekly shop is done.”

Rachael Noxon, Health Improvement Programme Manager for Social Isolation at Medway Council, said: The Shop and Coffee morning at Asda came from a suggestion put forward as part of the implementation of the Medway Reducing Social Isolation Strategy.

“Rosie and the Asda store have taken the lead in getting the shop and coffee morning off the ground. We look forward to seeing this project grow every Wednesday as more people become aware of the coffee mornings.”

Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder in charge of Public Health, said:This is a wonderful idea to enable older people to continue to get out and about, socialise and make new friends.

“It is the small things that make the biggest difference sometimes and a chat over a tea or coffee can really brighten someone’s day.

“Asda have shown a real commitment to improving the lives of the people involved in the project – it will be great if other supermarkets are inspired to follow this example.”

The ‘shop and coffee morning’ will take place every Wednesday at 11am until 2pm.

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