Come Eat Together Programme

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

Activity sheet March 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.

Come Eat Together won Best Health Project 2014 in the National Lottery Awards. Here you can see us receiving our award from John Torode of MasterChef

Please contact us on 0191 374 6577 for more information.

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Graham Courtney was a hit at the Gentlemans Breakfast

Graham Courtney from TalksportBROADCASTER Graham Courtney was the speaker at a first-of-its-kind gentlemen’s breakfast. Mark Tallentire from the Northern Echo went along to see how it went. Click here to see his article and photographs.

Age UK County Durham is organising monthly Gentlemen’s Breakfasts for men aged over 50 and the voice of Talk Sport attended the first, held at Cafe Cenno, at Durham’s Market Hall today on Wednesday, 20 May.

The breakfasts are aimed at combating loneliness and encouraging healthy eating.

For £3.50, men can enjoy a full English breakfast, plus entertainment and good company.

Colin Wilkes, managing director of Durham Markets, said: “Our afternoon tea has proved really popular and drawn ladies from around the region.

“Now we really want to create an opportunity where the men can enjoy eating together and meet others just like them.”

Further Gentlemen’s Breakfasts will be held on the third Wednesday of each month. Future dates are June 17 and July 15.

To book, call 0191-374-6577 or email:


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A little movie magic dining in style at Northumbrian Water

It’s Cannes Film Festival this week, so we thought we would bring a little movie glamour to Come Eat Together members. We have made a series of short films which we will be sharing with you over the next few weeks.

We thought we would start with Dining in Style at Northumbrian Water. The staff at Northumbrian Water get the seal of approval from our members. We think this film shows why their volunteers are so popular.

If you would like to know more, please contact us on 0191 374 6577 or email


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Gents welcome to ‘talk sport’ with Graham Courtney

Gentlemens breakfastOur afternoon tea in Durham’s friendly indoor market has been such a success that the team in the market want to extend the project to provide even more older people with good food and company!  

Café Cenno in Durham Market Hall is launching a brand new monthly ‘Gentlemen’s Breakfast’, with the aim of giving the older generation of men in  the area the opportunity to make new friends and enjoy bacon and eggs together. 

Graham Courtney from TalksportAdditionally, anyone joining the first breakfast will get the opportunity to meet – and quiz – TalkSPORT radio’s voice from the North East, Graham Courtney (pictured left).

The monthly ‘Gentlemen’s Breakfast’ will take place on the third Wednesday of each month, with the first on Wednesday 20th May, from 9.15 to 10.45am. For £3.50 per person, gents can enjoy a Café Cenno Full English Breakfast with toast, and tea or coffee as well as entertainment, and company

The Gentlemen’s Breakfast is organised by Age UK County Durham as part of their ‘Come Eat Together’ project (which recently won funding through the Big Lottery’s Silver Dreams) in partnership with Durham Markets Company and Ian and Joanne Kennedy, proprietors of Café Cenno. ‘Come Eat Together’ won Best Health Project in the National Lottery Awards 2014.  The Gentleman’s Breakfast builds on the success of the monthly Afternoon Teas which were launched in September 2014, both of which aim to combat loneliness by bringing older members of our communities together over good food.

Colin Wilkes, Managing Director of Durham Markets, commented: “Our Afternoon Tea has proved really popular, and drawn ladies from around the region.  Now we really want to create an opportunity where the men can enjoy eating together and meet others just like them.”

Mark Dunne-Willows, Deputy Chief Executive of Age UK County Durham said: “Our Come Eat Together project aims to combat loneliness as well as to help older people have a better diet.  We are delighted that Café Cenno and Durham Markets are working with us and we are particularly looking forward to the wit and wisdom of Graham Courtney at this first breakfast.  We want to get the message out that no one needs to be lonely, and that everyone is welcome.”

The Gentlemen’s Breakfast costs £3.50 per person.  Places are limited, and must be booked in advance.  To reserve a place, please call 0191 374 6577 or email


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Sunny smiles for Gala Lunch

Ladies enjoying lunch at the gala theatreThis week the Gala Theatre in Durham once again welcomed older people into their large airy Studio 2 for our monthly lunch club. Our guests enjoyed a delicious two course meal of corned beef pie, new potatoes and seasonal vegetables, followed by fresh cream gateaux for dessert. While the meal was being enjoyed there were lots of stories being shared about what everyone had done during the Easter weekend. The sun was shining and the room was filled with smiles and laughter.

Alistair MOnk of NHS give a talk about medicines After lunch participants enjoyed listening to our guest speaker. This month we welcomed Alistair Monk, a Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist from NHS North of England Commissioning Support to the lunch club. Alistair presented an interesting presentation on a variety of topics such as the NHS today, cost of prescriptions, concerns about medicine waste and antibiotics. Following Alistair’s talk, guests were invited to ask questions.

There were many questions answered and there were lots of comments as people left the theatre about how enjoyable the afternoon had been.

We also had a visit from our local Police Community Support Officers. The PSCO’s drop in to our lunch every month to visit our guests, giving them the opportunity to get to know them and ask any questions they may have.

If you are interested in coming along to our monthly lunch at the Gala Theatre please contact the ‘Come Eat Together’ team on 0191 374 6577 to reserve your place.

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Spring is in the Air – time to plant your fruit and veggies!

look what we've grownCome Eat Together is celebrating the start of spring in style with two ‘Grow to Eat’ sessions this week. We were in Lanchester on Tuesday and at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground on Thursday.

After their delicious lunch and a good natter in the comfortable dining room (which included chicken in creamy mushroom sauce with baby new potatoes, peas and carrots), over 40 diners at the Kings Head in Lanchester were keen to learn how to grow more tasty food that they could eat!

At our Grow To Eat sessions we always have a variety of seeds, seedling and young plants for people to pot up or take away. It is still early in the season but this week we were able to bring along a selection of  peppers, chillies, courgettes, spring onions and herbs. We also had seeds for strawberries and tomatoes.

grow to eat 4At both sessions, Come Eat Together members were treated to a talk from our knowledgeable volunteer Bala on how to grow your own fruit and vegetables easily. Bala (pictured far right)  has his own allotment and has many years of experience at growing all kinds of fruit, herbs and vegetables. He brings his tablet to show people photos from his allotment to show how easy it can be. He explained that vegetables and fruit can be grown indoors, that potatoes can be grown in washing up bowls and that if you’re growing them indoors you don’t need to put holes in the bottom as you can control how much water you use. There were plenty of questions about which varieties are easiest to grow and everyone told us that they had learned something new.

One member commented “An interesting talk from a very enthusiastic gardener” and another told us “I’ve never grown anything but now I will now have a go at pot-grown salads!”

Grow to eat CLS 2Our second session this week was hosted by Durham County Cricket Club at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground. The 14 members asked numerous questions and took home plants and seeds to have a go themselves with some of the plants Bala had talked about in the session.

One of the group commented, “I enjoyed the session and I will be planting the free plants, plus others”.  Another member of the group added “I will give some new food plants a go in the garden”.

More Grow to Eat sessions are planned throughout the County during the spring and summer – if you would like to attend one or you are interested in having a talk for your community group please contact the team on 0191 374 6577.

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Come Eat Together Practitioners Network launched

Ian and ChristineWe have formally launched the Come Eat Together Practitioners’ Network. This forum which will meet twice a year and will help us to share information, expertise and ideas to best support the organisations involved in providing the activities that bring people together with food. 

Our first meeting was held in Durham and was attended by representatives who provide transport, catering, venues and support.

The Network was launched by Harriet Gibbon, Chief Executive of Age UK County Durham who welcomed everyone. Sara Collins the Project Coordinator gave a presentation outlining the progress of the project to date and some of the future plans. Key highlights of the year include winning the National Lottery Award for Best Health Project 2014 and the award for Innovation in the Field of Community Learning from One Awards for our Healthy Eating for Older People course. One of our groups of learners also won highly commended Community Learning Group of the Year (there will be a blog about that shortly).  We are currently making some new films and we had a special screening of a new film about our shopping clubs which had everyone enthralled!

shopping on line tableThe Come Eat Together team set out some the resources used in our Healthy Eating Course and our shopping online sessions to give people a flavour of our learning activities.

A lively and enthusiastic discussion gave everyone the opportunity to share ideas about the project and explore how the network can benefit them. Dave and Susie from County Durham Police told us “We were thrilled to hear some very positive feedback about the benefits of PCSO’s attending some Come Eat Together activities. We now have details of some new sessions they can attend. We are encouraging the members of this network to tell us about positive feedback as it really motivates the police officers.”

Sheila from Bishop Auckland College told us “We are keen to do more with the project and I have enjoyed the meeting. I am going back to my colleagues with plenty of ideas about new opportunities to share!”

JOyce and SoniaJoyce (pictured left with Sonia) from Tanfield Lea Community Centre which has recently launched their lunch club told us “We love our new lunch club and we are looking forward to the Healthy Eating course starting in April. We are also working with you to arrange shopping online sessions. I’ve loved being able to sit and chat over a cuppa with Sonia from Nanas Ladles who provides the catering for our lunch club.”

Ian from Shildon Community Bus told us “I was delighted to see our minibus promoted in your film about the shopping clubs. I’ve been able to share information with members relating to community safety and working with communities”.

Our next meetings will be early summer and late autumn. We have been thrilled with the positive feedback from this meeting and look forward to our next meeting!


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New lunch club launched In Tanfield Lea Community Centre

Here at Come Eat Together we are celebrating the launch of a new lunch club.

The inaugural lunch at Tanfield Lea Community Centre, near Stanley was started on Wednesday (March 4) by Age UK County Durham development worker Stephanie Esteris working closely with the community centre volunteers.

Community Centre Secretary Joyce Lockey said: “The first lunch was a real success. We had 21 people attending with six meals delivered to the homes of those who were unable to come. The aim is to give those who are elderly the opportunity the chance to get a bit of company. We are going to arrange entertainment such as bingo and dominoes for future events.”

Joyce and her fellow volunteers are thrilled that the project is planning to put on a variety of courses at the community centre.

Lunch is provided by Sonya Curry of ‘Nanas Ladles’ in Sacriston.

The club will meet from 12.15pm to 2pm on Wednesdays every fortnight, with the next lunch arranged for March 18.

The next menu will include roast pork or beef and apple pie and custard. The price is £4.50 per person. Click here to see some photos from the event in the Northern Echo.

Anyone who is interested in joining the club should contact Alice Mearns on 01207 233 285 or Come Eat Together team on 0191 374 6564.


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Come Eat Together- Intergenerational Cookery Club

Bringing generations together with food

Cookery club 1Age UK County Durham’s Come Eat Together Team have worked with Woodhouse Close Community Church in Bishop Auckland to set up the Come Eat Together Intergenerational Cookery Club.

The Cookery Club, held every Monday morning, at Woodhouse Close Community Church has been a perfect opportunity for all members to learn new skills and share recipes, tips and advice across the generations.

Cookery club 4The cookery club began after Jean Clarke, Church community centre coordinator, received requests from the mother and toddler group for an activity where young mothers could learn to cook healthy two course meals on a budget. The Come Eat Together team was happy to help with the assistance of volunteer chef, Ian, who has shared his wealth of knowledge and skills.

As well as learning from Ian, members have shared new ideas and recipes as well as attempting the recipes, with great success, at home. The membership has grown over the months and now includes men and women of various ages and circumstances, working together to prepare a nutritious meal.

Cookery club 3Over the past three months members have mastered dishes such as Lasagne, Toad in the Hole, Corned Beef Pie, Mince and Dumplings and Chilli con Carne. As well as delicious desserts including Eves Pudding, Apple Crumble, Cheese Cake and Suet Puddings. After cooking, members sit down to enjoy the meal together, giving everyone a chance to discuss what they think of the meal, as well as future meal choices.

Before leaving for the afternoon everyone works together to clear away the dishes, wash the pots and clean up the kitchen.

Here is what the members have to say about the Cookery Club

“I might be old but I’m still learning. I learn something new every time I come. I like the company and especially sitting down to eat together afterwards.” Doreen

“I enjoy learning new recipes that I have never cooked before. I can now make Bechamel sauce and cheesecake. I have saved all the recipes and have gone home and cooked some them for myself and my four sons.  I thought it would be hard, but it’s a lot easier once you get started. I get to meet new people, learning new skills. It’s nice to sit together to eat and talk about planning new recipes. I always have a great time.”  Duncan

“‘I really enjoy coming every Monday and I have made the lasagne at home.” Janine

The Cookery Club has been beneficial for all members and everyone has worked together regardless of age and background. As the weeks have progressed members have grown in confidence and have shared stories about which recipes they have attempted at home.

The members are happy to gain independence and now take charge of the group independently. It has been agreed that members will now contribute a small donation each week to buy ingredients to make low budget meals.

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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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