The sessions, which are supported by Peabody, will now run on Mondays and Thursdays from 11am – 2pm. And though they’re popular with those aged 50+, people of all ages are invited to visit.
Thirty older residents from Lakeview Court and the local community came along to the celebration, taking part in bingo games, quizzes and a raffle.
One of the people who attended was Karen Harvey (pictured). Karen first learned about the Befriending Café over the summer and contacted the organisers to find out about volunteering opportunities. She was newly bereaved having recently lost her mum who was a resident at Lakeview Court.
With support from Age UK Bexley staff and existing volunteers she was able to develop new skills for supporting older people. She now volunteers at the weekly Thursday sessions and says it “felt like fate” when she was presented with the opportunity.
The event also welcomed the Mayor of Greenwich, Dominic Mbang, who discussed the importance of initiatives like the Befriending Café. Additionally, a short talk was given by NHS South East London Partnership.
Sasha Barnes, Community Development Project Officer at Age UK Bexley said: “I am pleased that our Befriending Cafe on a Thursday has been so successful that we have been able to offer a second day. I was happy to see so many people from the community come out to support us. Age UK Bexley looks forward to supporting more older people in Thamesmead.”
Khadeja Chowdhury, Health & Wellbeing Project Officer for Thamesmead at Peabody, said: “It’s been fantastic to witness the success of the Befriending Café over the past six months. The addition of one extra day per week is evidence that this in an initiative that’s really meeting a need for the older people in our community. We’re looking forward to seeing how the programme continues to develop.”
You can find out more about the services that Age UK Bexley offers.