Shared Tables brings single people together to eat as a group at a local restaurant. It is run by Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours’ Scheme CIO, part of More than a Mealtime.
A volunteer host coordinates the outing, and also helps to break the ice since people often don’t know each other beforehand. The activity has been running for three months and recently they got together to reflect on how it’s going.
People talked of not wanting to go into a pub by themselves, but they would happily go if they could be part of a group. One woman who is 83 said, “You don’t go anywhere on your own because you might feel embarrassed or because there used to be a stigma against women going out by themselves. This way you have someone to talk to and you can learn what’s going on.”
Another diner said, “I came along because I’d just lost my husband and so it was the right time for me. Everyone was really friendly and you leave feeling like you’ve known each other forever.”
One of the volunteers shared his experience as a host. “You just have to make sure the table’s booked, and then try to help everyone feel welcome. Just takes common sense, which I still have a bit left of!”
People also talked about how helpful and friendly the staff of the local restaurants have been. At the end of a meal at the Skyliner Fish’n’Chip shop, a gentleman was waiting for a taxi that couldn’t get through the traffic due to an accident. So the manager just drove him home himself. “People really take an interest and show they care.”
If you would like to find or more or get involved with Shared Tables, please contact Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours’ Scheme CIO on 0113 260 6565.