Come Eat Together Programme

Come Eat Together – It’s all about good food and company!

CET Programme Jan 2015From shopping clubs to stylish lunch clubs with a difference or afternoon tea in good company, our project has it! Click here for our current programme of regular activities.

Our activities are all designed with involvement from our members and we aim to reduce loneliness whilst enjoying good food in good company.

There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy our healthy eating course, cookery demonstrations or come along to a friendly session about how to grow fruit and vegetables on your windowsill or in your back yard.

Our session on how to shop online will give you the confidence to order food and goods online safely.

Please contact us on 0191 374 6577 for more information.

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Come Eat Together at Christmas

Queens head 1We’ve had a busy festive season for Come Eat Together this year. Shopping, eating, cooking, talking and enjoying good food. Here are just a few highlights.

Christmas started early with the Come Eat Together Project with the Bishop Auckland and Shildon Shopping Clubs being very busy from the 2nd December. Everyone was stocking up on Christmas presents and treats and felt that, “the shopping club allowed them to buy extra luxuries, without worrying about getting home“.

Stanley Diners met up at the Ox Inn for a Christmas lunch and Betjeman Dining Circle had a visit from Mrs Santa Claus and a festive game of bingo.  Attendees to the Dine and Dance at Shildon Civic Centre enjoyed a lovely Turkey dinner followed by lots of live music from Graeme Scarlett and festive dancing.

Queens head 2Durham City was full of festive cheer with lunch and party games at the Gala Theatre and some older people went along to see the Pantomime, which was Aladdin (Oh no they didn’t!). The Queens Head lunch group welcomed new members to their Christmas Lunch. As well as the pub being decorated for Christmas, with stockings on the fire place and crackers on the tables, the local Sainsbury’s kindly donated some flowers to decorate the table.

The staff at Northumbrian Water restaurant joined in the fun in their staff restaurant, wearing Christmas jumpers and serving a two course Christmas Dinner. Framwellgate School Brass Band played lots of Christmas songs followed by a surprise visit from Santa.

Back at Age UK House the team held a Christmas volunteer celebration. The team gave an update on the progress of the project before challenging the group with a Christmas quiz.

A Merry Christmas from all the Team at Come Eat Together and we look forward to seeing you all in 2015!

Here are a few photos of our activities

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Bishop Auckland College back for a New Academic Year!

BA college E1Bishop Auckland College has once again opened its doors for the very popular lunch club in their Ambition Restaurant. Around 40 older people were welcomed into the college on Wednesday 22 October by students who are learning  Health and Social Care. They enjoyed a delicious two course meal freshly prepared and served by students learning Catering.

BA college E2On the menu this month was Chicken and Leek Pie with fresh vegetables, followed by Jam Roly Poly with custard. Everyone was thrilled with the food and the friendly service. The students who prepared the meals were happy to chat about the recipes with the older people once the dishes had been cleared away.


 Energy saving tips and information

It was Energy Saving Week and after the meal, Jason from Durham County Council gave an informative talk on saving energy and some practical suggestions on how to save money. He brought low energy light bulbs and information for people to take away.

Did you know?

  • You could save hundreds of pounds a year on your fuel bill by simply checking you’re not paying more than you have to for your energy. Check your tariff with your current supplier.
  • By switching energy suppliers, or joining an oil club, you could be saving hundreds on your fuel bill. Why pay more than you have to?
  • Insulate your home to cut down on wasted energy to reduce your fuel bills.

10 top tips

  1. If you have a timer on your central heating system, set the heating and hot water to come on only when required: 30 minutes before you get up in the morning and set it to switch off 30 minutes before you are due to leave.
  2. If you have a hot water tank, set the cylinder thermostat to either 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Cylinder thermostats are usually fitted between a quarter and a third of the way up the hot water cylinder.
  3. Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors.
  4. Always turn off the light when you leave a room.
  5. Don’t leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
  6. When you are doing the washing try to fill up the machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher. One full load uses less energy than two half loads.
  7. Try and ensure that you only boil as much water as you need.
  8. A dripping hot water tap can waste enough energy in a single week to fill half a bath. Fix leaking taps and make sure they are fully turned off.
  9. Dry your clothes outside during nice weather so you don’t need to use your tumble drier.
  10. For details of gas and electricity tariffs for people aged 60 and over (or 50-59 if you are eligible to be registered for priority services) developed with E.ON contact Age UK County Durham Trading on 0191 374 0931

If you are an older person living in County Durham and worry about being able to afford your fuel bills contact our Information and Advice Team on 0191 374 6367

Next month Christmas comes early for our Bishop Auckland diners. They’ll be enjoying a Pantomime performed by the students on Wednesday 26 November 2014.

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Promoting Come Eat Together & Winter Warmth with Radio Teesdale

Winter wrapped upSara Collins the Project Coordinator for Come Eat Together teamed up with Linda Robinson the Age UK County Durham Development Worker for the Dales to spread the word about keeping warm and well in winter.

The two took part in a radiothon fundraising event held by Teesdale Radio last Friday 17 October. Sara talked about Come Eat Together and shared tips about keeping a well stocked food cupboard for emergencies. Linda shared tips and advice for older people about keeping warm in winter. She explained how she and the other Development Workers are distributing information and winter warmth packs across County Durham to get the key messages across to keep warm and active. Visit our recent post to download our leaflets and information.

If you would like more information please contact Age UK County Durham on 0191 374 6577 or email us on


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Afternoon Tea in Café Cenno at Durham Indoor Market

High tea 3There was lots of laughter, chat and smiles at the first Come Eat Together Afternoon Tea in Café Cenno at Durham Indoor Market last week. We all enjoyed the most delicious sandwiches, quiche, scones and cake before playing a fast paced and hilarious game of Beetle. Jonathan Miles from BBC Radio Newcastle also joined us for a bit of a chat and some cake.

Huge thanks to everyone who made the afternoon such a resounding success.  Afternoon Tea will take place at Café Cenno on the fourth Tuesday of every month from
2.00 – 3.30pm. Why not join us for the next one on Tuesday 28 October?

The Afternoon Tea costs £4 per person. Places are limited, and must be booked in advance. To reserve a place, please call us on 0191 374 6577 or email

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Keep Warm and Well this Winter with Age UK County Durham

winter wrappedEach winter one older person dies every seven minutes from the cold weather [i]. With this in mind, everyone here at Age UK County Durham wants to ensure older people are fully prepared for the winter months ahead. The cold poses some very real dangers for older people and winter can be a very difficult time, especially those who live alone or who are housebound, so we do all we can to help you prepare for the colder weather and get through it. 

Professor Keith Willett, NHS England’s Clinical Director for Acute Care, said: “Every year in the NHS, we see a huge increase in numbers of emergency admissions to hospital over the colder months.  Those with existing chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma or breathing problems are particularly vulnerable, and for frailer people, even the common cold can trigger a hospital stay. I urge people to stay warm and if you’re feeling unwell, to seek advice early rather than allowing problems to fester.  We want to avoid the traditional outbreak of stoicism – the desire to soldier on and not to ‘make a fuss’.  If you’re feeling under the weather, the local pharmacy and NHS 111 can help, and if the symptoms don’t go away, contact your GP.”

Keep Warm, Keep Well Campaign

KWKW leaflet coverAs part of our annual Keep Warm Keep Well campaign we are helping older people to understand just how much of a health risk the cold weather is and what they can do about it. We work in partnership across County Durham to help older people stay safe and well in winter and we have produced a handy leaflet full of practical top tips to stay warm this winter. Please click here to download the leaflet.

Here are some of our favourite top tips:

  • Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter.
  • Keep your bedroom and main living room at 18° and 21°C (65° and 70°F) respectively. If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and the bedroom before you go to sleep. Keep a check on room temperatures with a thermometer or the thermostat for your heating.
  • Wear several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer) and even a hat indoors or in bed if it’s really cold as a lot of body heat is lost through your head.
  • Keep active – chair based exercises – moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes are helpful if walking is difficult.
  • Life can be more enjoyable with some company so join a group or take part in an activity that interests you. Contact the team at Come Eat Together on
    0191 374 6577 to find out about activities taking place in your area. If you can’t visit friends or family make sure you ring them regularly for a chat.

Keep Warm Keep Well events

Our staff and volunteers at Age UK County Durham are organising Keep Warm Keep Well events around the county to provide information and advice about the health risks of cold weather, as well as safety testing electric blankets. These events are the perfect opportunity for older people, and those who care about them, to come down and find out about what they can do to beat the cold and stay well, including how Age UK County Durham can help. Our Come Eat Together staff and volunteers will be bringing information with them to events over the winter months and are happy to chat with you about keeping warm and safe.

Watch our Facebook page and Twitter feed to see where these are. You can see these on the right hand side of this page.

Winter Wrapped Up guide

Winter wrapped upWe will be distributing copies of the Age UK guide  ‘Winter Wrapped Up’  which contains a free thermometer and provides additional information on staying warm in winter.

You can also call Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65 to order a free copy of the guide   Alternatively click here to download a pdf version of the guide

Get a free flu jab if you are in a high risk group or aged 65+. Click here to download a copy of the Age UK Flu Prevention Leaflet .

How about holding a winter warming event to support our work?

Winter warmth fundraisingThis winter we are asking if people would like to organise a Winter Warmth coffee morning or fundraising event to support our work in tackling loneliness. Click here for a copy of the flier. If you are interested, please contact the Come Eat Together team on 0191 374 6577 or email them on and we will send you a fundraising pack full of ideas.


[i] Age UK estimate, using a ten-year average 2003/4 to 2012/13, from Excess Winter Mortality in England and Wales, ONS, November 2013.

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Lunch with a Gala Feel in Durham


Gala Theatre outsideWe are pleased to announce a new stylish monthly lunch club exclusive to people aged over 50 has opened in Durham City. Set in the beautiful Gala Theatre, this monthly lunch club includes a hot two course lunch followed by a variety of social activities.

This lunch club has been developed over the summer with the Gala Theatre team and some Come Eat Together members.

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We had a great start to our first gathering when we were warmly welcomed by members of the staff at the Gala Theatre. The meal was delicious and we enjoyed a fabulous roast chicken lunch followed by an interactive music quiz.

Carol Scullion from the Gala Theatre says “We are really happy to be working with Age UK County Durham. It is a fantastic project they are providing that enables older people to socialise on a regular basis in a fun, friendly and welcoming environment”.

The lunch club will run on the second Wednesday of the month bringing people together with good food and good company. The next date for the Gala Theatre lunch club is Wednesday 8 October 2014.

Why not join us and enjoy a hot 2 course lunch followed by live music with George Hetherington.  The activity will cost £8.00.

To find out more or to book a place please contact the Come Eat Together Team on
0191 374 6577 or e-mail

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National Lottery Awards – our exciting media day!

We are having an exciting day today as we eagerly await the National Lottery Awards show (Friday 19 September at 10.45pm on BBC1).

Mike Parr BBC TeesThis morning Sara and Christine from the project went to Middlesbrough to talk to Mike Parr on BBC Radio Tees. The team made them very welcome (cup of tea and friendly smiles). We were able to tweet their visit too! Mike Parr the presenter really understands the Come Eat Together project and was as enthusiastic about it as we are here. We took our National Lottery Awards Best Health Project trophy to show him (and the radio listeners). Here is a photo of Mike with Sara and Christine. Below you can hear the radio interview.

This afternoon Sara was interviewed by BBC Radio Newcastle too! We hope to bring you that clip when we get it.

At the same time there are some super articles in the Radio Times, the Northern Echo and BDaily

You can see the wonderful John Torode surprising us with the Best health Project trophy on the awards show. Here is a sneak photo of us on stage with him!

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We are very grateful for all the media reporters and presenters who have helped us raise awareness of the very important health issues of loneliness, social isolation and malnutrition among older people.

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Come Eat Together shines on National TV

It’s a big day for our project. This evening our Come Eat Together project will be highlighted on the National Lottery Awards Show (10.45pm on BBC1). There will be a short film shown that was made with some volunteers and members of the project when John Torode from MasterChef sprung a surprise visit to us to tell us we had won Best Health Project 2014! We hope you will watch it or record it to see the special event. Staff involved in the project went to Pinewood Studios to formally collect our award.

Here is a short advert that the National Lottery have released just for us!


Here is the press release that has gone out today from National Lottery Awards. We hope you are as delighted and thrilled as we are. We would like to thank everyone who voted and supports our work to alleviate loneliness, social isolation and promote good healthy nutrition.


Staff from Age UK County Durham’s Come Eat Together project hit the red carpet and accepted their National Lottery Award at a star-studded awards ceremony, to be broadcast on BBC One this Friday.

Come Eat Together was voted the nation’s favourite Health project in this year’s National Lottery Awards. They will be seen receiving the prize by millions of viewers at 10.45pm on Friday 19 September on the National Lottery Stars 2014 programme.

The project team travelled to London for the event at the world-famous Pinewood Studios, home of James Bond, Star Wars and Superman. They partied with stars including Pixie Lott, Jade Jagger and Scott Mills, during the ceremony hosted by John Barrowman.

A short film featuring a visit from MasterChef star John Torode, who surprised Come Eat Together with news that they had won their National Lottery Award, will also be shown on the programme.

Harriet Gibbon, chief executive of Age UK County Durham said: “We’re very grateful to everyone who voted for us. To know that this award has been decided by the public and that so many people voted for us makes winning this award particularly special.

“I would like to thank our project staff and volunteers who have worked hard to make the project a success and National Lottery players for providing the funding to make   ‘Come Eat Together’ possible. Malnutrition, loneliness and social isolation are major public health issues facing many older people. Taking part in the National Lottery Awards and winning this award is helping us to raise the profile of these important issues and the need to address them.”

The National Lottery Awards recognise and reward the inspirational impact of National Lottery funded projects across the UK. National Lottery players raise more than £33 million for projects throughout the UK every week.

Jackie O’Sullivan from the National Lottery added: “The National Lottery Awards recognise and reward the life-changing impact of Lottery funded projects across the country.”

“I would like to congratulate everyone who took part in this year’s National Lottery Awards; we were overwhelmed by the exceptionally high standard of the National Lottery funded projects that entered. Come Eat Together is a deserving winner of the Best Health Award – National Lottery players can be proud that they fund and support this fantastic organisation.”

About the project:

Come Eat Together is a volunteer peer support project which aims to improve older people’s ability to access, cook and enjoy healthy food together, helping them to be more resilient and better able to cope with life stage changes such as retirement, bereavement or ill health.

The project works in a number of ways to promote the benefits of a healthy diet for older people including developing new Lunch Clubs and Dining Circles where older people can come together and take turns to cook for one another in their own homes. The project has an intergenerational element and provides lots of opportunities for older people to share their skills with others, including young people who are keen to learn as well as help.

About the Awards:

There are seven categories in the National Lottery Awards, reflecting the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary/charity.

Come Eat Together beat off six other finalists in a public vote to win the Best Health Project. It will receive a £2,000 cash prize to spend on the project as well as a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.

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