Directory: Churches and People

Tackling loneliness with food and friendship

13 February 2017


Photograph courtesy of Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian

The Revd David Oxtoby (pictured), Priest-in-charge of Sutton Bridge St Matthew’s & Tydd St Mary’s, is currently exploring a project that sets out to tackle the issue of loneliness.

As David explains, Having been in post for three-and-a-half years, I’ve noticed and heard about our declining sense of community cohension, and the increase in isolation among the elderly, where at times people do not see another human being from one week to the next. Of course, this is not limited to the elderly and widowed, as this affects many other people in our communities who sense isolation in many other ways, be they physical, mental or emotional.

With this in mind, I was privileged to have seen first hand a project in Stamford that sought to tackle the isolation through home visits with hot simple food; where the food was never the point of the encounter, it was always about the human contact. I’m therefore exploring how such a project might be replicated here and in surrounding communities. It will work best when the project is owned not only by the local church, but also by the wider community and businesses.

We currently run a FoodBank that is mainly run by volunteers from the community, and this project would become an extension of our FoodBank offering. At this stage I am exploring the demand for such an idea, and the level of support that might be available through the local community and businesses.

David recently spoke about this in more detail with Rod Whiting on BBC Radio Lincolnshire. To listen to this, please click on this link (the interview begins 14 minutes into the programme; it will be available for 30 days).

David would be very interested to hear from people who might welcome the opportunity to receive these meals, those who might be willing to volunteer, and also businesses that might be able to offer some support for this project. For further details please call 01406 25 85 72, or see the St Matthew’s Facebook page