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Middlesbrough Over 50’s Meet in Dundas Indoor Market to Combat Loneliness and Isolation


Oct 14, 2016

More than 40 older people, all members of the Ageing Better Middlesbrough programme, gathered at a café in the town’s Dundas Indoor Market, as part of Ageing Better Middlesbrough’s on-going initiative to reduce loneliness and social isolation among older people.

The over 50’s got together for a chat over tea and cake at Jean’s Kitchen in Dundas Indoor Market in Middlesbrough’s Dundas Shopping Centre. The aim of the event was to bring together members to meet new people and re-connect with friends that they had not seen for years. People shared their memories of Middlesbrough while volunteers and staff from Ageing Better Middlesbrough were on hand to tell people more about the range of support and activities that the programme can offer.

Member Mary Waite (71), who attended the event with her husband John, said: “You feel better by mixing with other people, nobody is too old to make new friends. It’s been great hearing other people’s memories of Middlesbrough.”

The group ‘Memories of Middlesbrough’ came along with a range of photos, sparking interesting conversations about Middlesbrough’s long and distinguished past. Author, Araf Chohan, popped along and signed some copies of his book ‘Britain in Old Photographs: Middlesbrough’.

Dundas Indoor Market Manager David Harris worked with Ageing Better Middlesbrough and Jean Hall, owner of Jean’s Kitchen, to stage the get together which is set to become a regular event from the end of January 2017.

He says: “Dundas Shopping Centre is a community oriented shopping centre which has always tried to support all people in their shopping, and the staff at Jean’s Kitchen have long been on hand to provide practical help and advice if any shoppers become confused or need assistance.


“At present the centre, its staff and the traders are working towards gaining ‘Dementia Friendly’ status, so we were delighted to host what I hope will be the first of many events in conjunction with Ageing Better Middlesbrough.

“In fact we are already planning a ‘Pop-Up Day’ on Friday 25th November when Ageing Better Middlesbrough and three other charities that support older people locally will take one of our market units to raise awareness of the services, support and activities that are available in the town, as well as launching the Weekly Café Meet ups.

Sarah Jane Ashcroft, Network Development Manager at Ageing Better Middlesbrough says: “We are very pleased to work with the Dundas Shopping Centre as part of our mission to inspire people aged 50 and over to have a happy, healthy, active, and a more socially connected later life.

Ageing Better Middlesbrough is a six year, £6 million Big Lottery funded programme working to reduce loneliness and social isolation for people aged 50 and over in Middlesbrough. It is made up a partnership of several different organisations and projects that are working together to support and empower local older people.

There are a number of units available for rent in Dundas Indoor Market, which benefit from the shopping centre’s weekly footfall of more than 60,000 and the support of more than 20 fellow market traders. Further information is available from David Harris on tel. 01642 232552 or by email. david.harris@dundasindoormarket.co.uk or from the Centre’s website at http://www.dundasshoppingcentre.co.uk/units-let/, or from Richard Wilson at Dodds Brown on tel. 01642 244130.

By Emily