Community Activities help older and vulnerable people live a life less lonely in the North Cotswolds

by Joanna Hammond

Community Activities help older and vulnerable people live a life less lonely in the North Cotswolds

Our Community activities provided by Cotswold Friends, are supporting older and vulnerable people to live a life less lonely in the North Cotswolds – with new activities, including Friendship Cafés and a new Community Garden, launching this year.

The Office for National Statistics says about 7% of British adults often or always feel lonely, and 25% are lonely at least some of the time.

Cotswold Friends’ vision is that no older or vulnerable person in the Cotswolds should be lonely or isolated, and almost 4oo clients of the charity already attend over 20 different activities, providing them with a chance to meet new people and have a chat, take part in crafts and projects, or just have a friendly cuppa and a bite to eat.

They include the charity’s Men in Sheds and She Sheds projects in Chipping Campden, Moreton, Bourton and Northleach, where members are often found busily making planters, bird boxes, hedgehog houses, kindling and more. The ‘shedders’ always welcome new recruits to come along and share ideas and skills, or simply enjoy the friendly atmosphere, have a cup of tea or coffee, some cake, and a chat.

Cotswold Friends also runs 10 different Lunch Clubs in locations around the North Cotswolds, giving those who may be older, lonely, or isolated the opportunity to get together with others for a hot meal and the chance to socialise. The charity’s Kineton Pub Lunch Club has recently re-started and takes place at The Halfway, Kineton near Guiting Power, on the second Tuesday each month.

Cotswold Friends’ Walking Football activity has been running since 2017 and is fun for everybody, currently taking place every Friday from 9.30am to 11am at Blockley Sports Field.

It’s for men and women of all ages, providing fitness and new friends, and you don’t need any previous experience.

Meanwhile a new Friendship Café in Stow-on-the-Wold, launched by the charity in March, aims to combat loneliness and isolation over a cuppa.

Cotswold Friends has teamed up with Brio Retirement Living to help older and isolated people make new friends and take part in activities, reading and crafts.

The Stow Friendship Café takes place between 10.30am and 12pm on the first and third Tuesday each month at Beechwood Park. A Friendship Café in Moreton will also be up and running with the charity soon.

Also new for 2023, a Community Garden is being developed behind Stow Surgery for surgery patients and local older residents to use. Cotswold Friends are currently looking for volunteers to help create the Community Garden, which will include raised beds of flowers, herbs and vegetables, accessible paths, seating and a sheltered area.

Jo Hammond, CEO of Cotswold Friends, says: “Loneliness is a major problem in our rural communities in the North Cotswolds, with some scientific studies even suggesting that loneliness can increase the chance of an early death.

“In terms of isolation, the Cotswold district is the third least densely populated of the South West’s 30 local authority areas, with an area equivalent to around two football pitches per resident.

“We would love more people to attend our community activities, so if you or someone you know would like to come along and meet new people, please do get in touch.”

For more information on Cotswold Friends’ Community Activities Programme, telephone 01608 692811, email [email protected] or visit

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