CHURCH officials are offering a helping hand to the lonely and isolated with a new social event.
The Uttoxeter Churches Together Communicate events will take place on the fourth Saturday of every month, with the first session running tomorrow from 10am to 2.30pm at Uttoxeter Methodist Church.
Refreshments, all-day breakfasts and games will be available, as well as the chance to get out and make friends.
Methodist minister Gordon Gresswell told the Post and Times the sessions would be open to all age groups.
He said: “Loneliness affects us all in different ways.
“I’ve only been here for around six months but have met a lot of people who need company at weekends, from widowers to younger people.
“Weekends are a very difficult time for those who are isolated and have little social interaction, particularly if there families live elsewhere.
“We want those people to come out and share with others to come out of their shells so we can show them they’re not alone in the world and people really do care about them.
“Whether you just want a cup of tea, a few slices of toast or a full English, you’re very welcome at Communicate.”
East Staffordshire Borough Council has invested £800 in grant money to help the event get off the ground.
And Rev Gresswell is keen to point out Communicate has no religious connotations.
He said: “There won’t be any prayers and hymns. We’re just opening our doors to people in the hope they can feel wanted and loved.
“I know a lady in her 50s whose husband died very suddenly.
“She told me that she would get through the week at work but, come Friday, she’d go home and wouldn’t talk to anyone until Monday.
“She’s started coming to some services and said they’ve really helped her make friends and socialise more, which is so vital.
“In the long term, we’ll be looking to get local schools involved, maybe as part of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, so pupils can come and lend a friendly ear.”
Volunteers to help run Communicate are being sought and anyone wanting further information is asked to call Rev Gresswell on 01889 562994 or Julie Green on 01889 565086.