Saturday, February 29th, 2020

You’ve got a friend in me – Gloria Hunniford visits Weald Heights in Sevenoaks to help launch Friendship Cafés across Kent

Care homes across Kent are opening their doors to welcome local people to new friendship cafés, which have been designed to reduce loneliness in the community.

Care home provider, Care UK, which operates Weald Heights in Sevenoaks, has joined forces with television and radio presenter Gloria Hunniford to launch this initiative after figures estimated that 10 percent of those aged 65 and over (around 30,000 people) in Kent suffer from acute loneliness.

TV and radio personality Gloria Hunniford attended the launch of a new monthly Friendship Cafe at the Weald Heights care home in Sevenoaks

To help combat this, Friendship Cafés have been launched, starting at Weald Heights. These cafés will take place once a month and offer a homely setting for people in the community to chat over a cuppa and slice of cake.

Gloria Hunniford attended the launch of the café in Sevenoaks, where she chatted to guests and residents, enjoyed entertainment and discussed the importance of friendship and human interaction. In addition to Weald Heights, Montfort Manor in Ashford, Harrier Lodge in Whitstable and Invicta Court in Maidstone, are also hosting their own Friendship Cafés on a monthly basis.

Gloria Hunniford, said: “I had a fabulous day with everyone who came to the event, it was so lovely to meet the local people and chat about life in the community. We know how important it is to have regular human interaction, especially as we get older. Loneliness is one of the biggest problems in this country and can have a detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing, so it’s vital that initiatives like this offer a space for people to get together.

“The launch event at Weald Heights was a huge success and I’m thrilled to be part of this initiative. I’ll be popping in again very soon!”

Older people are especially prone to loneliness and social isolation, with an estimated two million people in England over the age of 75 living alone, and more than one million say they go for over a month without speaking to anyone according to statistics from Age UK.

Maria Covington, home manager at Weald Heights, said: “Here at Care UK, our ethos is to create fulfilling lives and this extends beyond residents, to those in the community. Being able to offer a welcoming environment where people who might feel lonely can come and spend time with others fits perfectly within our vision.

“Weald Heights is very much part of our local community, so this also gives residents who have lived in and around Sevenoaks all their lives an opportunity to stay connected to the area. We’re so pleased Gloria Hunniford joined us for our special event.

Gloria Hunniford chats with some of the guests at Weald Heights

“We hope that by launching Friendship Cafés across the region, we can play our part in reducing loneliness and isolation for the people of Kent. I’m sure that the other Care UK homes launching this initiative will see the same success we have.”

Weald Heights has been designed to provide residential, nursing and specialist dementia care, as well as respite, end of life and palliative care. The ethos at Weald Heights is based on person-centred care, which means residents’ values are right at the heart of the home. Choice, variety and luxury are built into every aspect of life at the home, which offers a combination of professional, individualised care and luxury hotel-style comfort.

For more information on Weald Heights, please call customer relations manager, Amelia Moore, on 01732 809 189, or email: amelia.moore2@careuk.com

For more general information, please visit: careuk.com/weald-heights

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