Come Eat Together Programme

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

The front page of the project leaflet From 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. You can download our general project leaflet here. Please contact us on 0191 374 6577 for more information.

In 2014 we won the National Lottery Award for Best Health Project. You can see more about  this at

We post regular blogs and updates about the project. Visit us regularly for up to date information.

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It’s time to vote for your favourite National Lottery Award finalists for 2015!

Harriet John Chris & volsJust one year ago we were thrilled that Come Eat Together reached the finals of the National Lottery Awards in the Best Health Project category.

It launched us into a exciting couple of months which saw our volunteers and members in the project interviewed by television, radio and newspaper journalists. The staff team too found themselves talking to thousands of people about the project as we encouraged members of the public to vote for us. At the same time we cheered on another local finalist ‘If you care, share’, a project which promotes emotional well being in young people & supports families affected by suicide.

Peterlee fire station STRAIGHTENED mdwThroughout the voting period we met so many people who, like us, are concerned that so many older people are lonely and that so many problems prevent people from enjoying a healthy diet. The people we met inspired us and many of their comments have made us even more passionate about improving later life for older people. If you voted for us, thank you so much.

Red carpet John Barrowman with Come Eat Together Low resWe won our category with over 12,000 votes from the public and a group of us were invited to Pinewood Studios (where they film James Bond and Star Wars) to take part in the star studded sparkly event. We met all the celebrities and love this photo with John Barrowman who took time to talk to everyone.

Winning this award has enabled us to further raise awareness of the real impact of loneliness and malnutrition among older people. As the new National Lottery Awards finalists have been announced, we wish them all an exciting journey too.

NLA 2015Please take a few minutes to visit the National Lottery Awards page, check out this year’s finalists and make your vote for each category.

The seven categories are: Arts, Education, Environment, Health, Heritage, Sport and Voluntary Sector.

You can find all the finalists at

Here you can see us receiving our award from John Torode of MasterChef.

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Come Eat Together brings people together to shop!

The Come Eat Together project isn’t just about dining in style, its also about growing, learning about, talking about and shopping for food with good company thrown in. Here you can see our new short film about how we help with shopping. This film shows the Shildon Shopping Club, but we also operate shopping clubs in Bishop Auckland, Derwentside, Derwent Valley, Weardale and have a new one planned for Wear Valley. If you are interested in helping as a volunteer or would like to join a shopping club, contact us on 0191 374 6577.

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Stay cool in the summer heat

2 ladies in a heatwaveWith the weather hotting up, we all want to get outside and enjoy it, especially as the sun has some great health-boosting benefits.

Sunlight enables our body to produce vitamin D, helping us to absorb calcium and keep our bones healthy. And if you’re feeling a bit down, being in the sun can even improve your mood.

But it’s important to take care too. Heat can cause you to dehydrate, so make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids and keep your skin protected. Did you know that if you have breathing problems or a heart condition, your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot? Be aware of the symptoms of heatstroke  and if you’re worried about the effect of heat on your health, pop along to your GP and have a chat to make sure you stay comfortable.

10 top tips for staying cool

  1. Don’t spend long periods sitting or working outside during the hottest time of the day: late morning to mid-afternoon
  2. If you’re travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water
  3. Avoid strenuous activity, and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler
  4. When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun
  5. Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler
  6. Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured, cotton clothing.
  7. Take cool baths or showers
  8. Splash your face with cool (not very cold) water, or place a damp cloth on the back of your neck to help you cool off
  9. Drink lots of fluid – even if you aren’t thirsty
  10. Eat normally – even if you aren’t hungry, you need a normal diet to replace salt losses from sweating. In addition, try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit, as these contain a lot of water

What else can you do?

  • If you live alone, consider asking a relative or friend to visit or phone to check that you’re not having difficulties
  • If you know a neighbour who lives alone, check regularly that they are OK
  • If a heatwave is on its way or the weather is hot for several days, listen to local radio so you know the latest advice for your area. Check weather reports and temperature warnings on TV and radio, and through The MET Office
  • If you have breathing problems or a heart condition, your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot. Contact your GP for advice.
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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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