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Libraries invite people in for cup of tea and chat to combat loneliness

PUBLISHED: 19:52 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 21:45 11 December 2018

Just A Cuppa at Cromer Library. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Just A Cuppa at Cromer Library. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Archant

Libraries around Norfolk are inviting people in for free tea and a friendly chat to help combat loneliness.

Just A Cuppa events aim to provide company and the possibility of friendship to people of all ages across the county.

The events are part of Norfolk County Council’s In Good Company campaign, which was set up in 2016 to make sure no-one has a lonely day in Norfolk.

Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of the council’s communities committee, said: “It can sometimes be difficult for people to find opportunities to socialise but our Just A Cuppa events in libraries are an open invitation to everyone to come along and enjoy a cuppa and a chat in a friendly environment.”

Some libraries have jigsaws, puzzle books and newspapers at their sessions to help get people talking.

Kathleen Ashington, Just A Cuppa volunteer at King’s Lynn library, said: “My partner and I moved to King’s Lynn from West Yorkshire in December 2016.

“I am retired and I quickly began to feel lonely and isolated when my partner was working.

“I decided that I needed to get involved in something and make new friends. From a simple conversation with a member of the library staff I have never looked back.”

Social interaction improves mental health, reduces isolation and supports vulnerable people in the community, enabling them to seek help and support and utilise help available to them across all services at Norfolk County Council.

Mrs Ashington said: “All the staff at King’s Lynn library are always friendly, supportive, patient, helpful and professional at all times.

“I was invited to become a volunteer at the library which involves me preparing tea and coffee and welcoming new people that would like to join the group.

“Most people in the group are living alone and always say what a difference it makes coming to the group and friendships have been formed.”

Just A Cuppa runs all year round, including the festive season.

To see if there’s an event at your local library, check the Libraries page on the Norfolk County Council website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries

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