Welcome to Come Eat Together

Come Eat Together aims to reduce loneliness and promote health and wellbeing by bringing people together with food. For more information please contact us on
0191 374 6577 or 0191 386 3856.  Our activities include:

  • Lunch clubs, Breakfast Clubs and Afternoon Teas in pleasant venues
  • Opportunities to meet new people & make new friends
  • Shopping clubs – we have 7 door-to-door shopping clubs in Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Newton Aycliffe, Wear Valley, Teesdale and Chester le Street
  • Help with shopping online
  • Inspiration to brighten up meals at home
  • Help to grow fruit and vegetables easily at home
  • Opportunities to get involved through volunteering

List of regular activities

We are now selling our recipe book ‘Eat well feel great: colourful and delicious meals and snacks for one or two’ for just £5.00. Proceeds support Age UK County Durham.

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TV Licensing email scam alert

We are aware of a current ongoing scam around TV Licensing which is in circulation at the moment. These emails have been reported to Action Fraud in high numbers.

Victims who click on the link are led to a convincing looking TV Licensing website – where fraudsters can obtain bank account details and commit identity fraud.

Reports made to Action Fraud identify that the current TV Licensing phishing emails are part of a larger scam where criminals call individuals claiming to be bank employees. This is how the scam works:
1. The victim receives a TV Licensing phishing email with links to a convincing-looking website that steals personal and financial details.
2. Within a week or two, victims will receive a phone call from a fraudster claiming to be from the fraud department of the victim’s bank. The fraudsters are able to convince victims they are genuine banking staff by providing some of the personal details that were obtained using the fake TV Licensing emails and websites.

Please follow the below advice on how to avoid being a victim of these types of scams:

Unsolicited emails, texts and calls:
Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.
Don’t assume a phone call or email is authentic:
Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name or address), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Remember, criminals can spoof the phone numbers and email addresses of companies you know and trust, such as TV Licensing.

Requests to transfer money
Your bank will never call and ask you for your PIN, full banking password, or ask you to transfer money out of your account.

What to do if you’ve fallen victim:
Let your bank know as soon as possible and monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.

If you suspect your identity may have been stolen you can check your credit file quickly and easily online. You should do this every few months anyway using a reputable service provider and following up on any unexpected or suspicious results.

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to the Police on 101 or  Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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Start the New Year by eating well and feeling great

We would like to thank A. I. McCulloch for her review of our recipe book ‘Eat well, feel great: Colourful and delicious meals and snacks for one or two’. In case you need any encouragement to start the New Year by enjoying colourful meals and snacks that make you feel great, here is her review.

Many of us in late middle age or older have family cookbooks with meals ‘serving four’, that perhaps no longer meet our needs. There’s only so many meals you can batch cook, not to mention lugging all the ingredients back from the supermarket.

An original idea, these are nutritionally balanced recipes. designed to get older people moving away from ready meals, and into preparing tasty, tempting dishes, that are quick and easy, fuel effiicient, and won’t break the bank. Many of the meals are staples, these aren’t unfamiliar dishes – spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie, tuna and pasta bake.

My first thought was that this book would be a great buy for a household where someone hasn’t really had to cook before. Perhaps someone whose partner always did the cooking, but is now either solo, or has had to take over cooking duties. They will find many favourites here.

As someone who does cook, I was pleased to find that there were some things here that weren’t versions of things I’ve been cooking for the last forty years.

I’ll be trying a Sardinian stew that has pearl barley as the base, having recently discovered orzotto, which is a low-maintenance risotto, made with pearl barley rather than expensive arborio rice. Not all recipes are mains, there are breakfasts, lunch ideas, and puddings too. All have no more than a dozen ingredients, with many just half a dozen.

There’s a good introduction, with sound nutritional advice, and advice on keeping a decent stock cupboard. I find that some basic flavourings – garlic, chilli, dried herbs, lemon juice, ginger, stock cubes, turmeric, cumin – form the flavour base of so many of my recipes. and this book follows the same track. Food doesn’t need to be fancy to taste good, but it has to have some flavour.

Many of the recipes are vegetarian, including some where you won’t notice that the meat is missing, such as vegetable risottos or tagines.

If I’d written this, I would have perhaps included more in the way of tips and tweaks. Using tinned potatoes, for example, a great, cheap alternative, that save money and time in the kitchen. Perhaps some advice on freezing leftovers, and making two or three meals out of one.  A bowl of leftover spaghetti bolognese sauce can form the basis of a cottage pie, for example, or the meat layer in a lasagne. (We definitely agree).

Buying this also supports an award winning charity, Age UK County Durham, that has a lot of innovative ideas for supporting older people in their community – running lunch clubs, and supported shopping trips to enable older people without transport to access shops and supermarkets.

It’s all good.

This review (and others) can be found on Amazon where it is easy to buy a copy from us and help us deliver our vital services at the same time.

And if you enjoy it, why not add a review on Amazon or email us your comments about your favourite dish?

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Eat well, feel great: Colourful and delicious meals and snacks for one or two

We are now selling our recipe book ‘Eat well feel great: colourful and delicious meals and snacks for one or two’ for just £5.00 (plus P+P where needed) with all proceeds going to support the charity’s services for older people in County Durham.

Older people asked us to inspire and motivate them to try new dishes and make meals more interesting and varied. This led us to produce this publication packed full of colourful and delicious recipes for one or two people.

Our collection features traditional favourite dishes which have been given a modern and healthy twist inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. In addition a wide range of fresh new recipes introduce people to delicious snacks and meal ideas that are quick and easy to make. More than half the recipes are suitable for vegetarians. There are suggestions for the use of alternative ingredients to ensure that dishes can be interesting and varied.

Recipes include

  • Smoked mackerel paté
  • Baked fish and chips
  • Sardinian stew
  • Tuna nicoise salad
  • Roasted vegetable tagine with couscous
  • Chicken, spinach and potato frittata
  • Spice roasted fruits with honey and orange sauce

With a spiral binding that allows the book to lay flat, large colour photos of each recipe and easy to read text ‘Eat well feel great’ is perfect for those who want recipes for one or two people.

We are thrilled that Simon King (Hairy Bikers) supports our work and our recipe book. He said “Come Eat Together is an absolutely brilliant project bringing older people together to enjoy good food and good company. Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to cook different tasty meals when you live on your own, this recipe book has loads of tasty creative healthy food to get your taste buds going!! I really hope you all enjoy making the dishes in the book, go on why don’t you give them a go!  Keep up the fantastic work Age UK County Durham!”

We even cooked some food on the radio when we were interviewed by BBC Radio Tees

Harriet Gibbon, Chief Executive of Age UK County Durham said

We are very proud of this publication with its delicious recipes, colourful photographs and practical design. All the recipes have been tested and tasted to make sure instructions are easy to follow and are full of flavour.

I would like to thank the members of our ‘Come Eat Together’ project, Newcastle University and Bishop Auckland College Catering and Hospitality Department for their involvement in designing this recipe book and their support for the selection of the recipes.”

The book is available to purchase online at Amazon or from Age UK County Durham Superstore in Belmont or the Information and Resource Centre at 68 North Road, Durham. For more information please contact Age UK County Durham on 0191 386 3856.

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Malnutrition Awareness Week 1 – 7 October 2018

It is not normal to lose weight as you get older. Malnutrition affects a high proportion of older people, but the signs aren’t always obvious.

This week is Malnutrition Awareness Week. Please take a moment to check on your older relatives, friends and neighbours. Look out for loose clothing/jewellery, or a smaller appetite.

If you are worried, you should encourage them to see their GP.  It might be that they would enjoy a meal if they are in some good company and our Come Eat Together Breakfast Clubs, Dining Circles, Lunch Clubs or Afternoon Teas in County Durham might be an answer.  Contact us on 0191 374 6577 for more information.

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Mon 21 May – Sunday 27 May is Dementia Awareness Week

Mon 21 May – Sunday 27 May is Dementia Awareness Week and we are thinking about those who live with Dementia and those who support them.

Our team at Age UK County Durham are trained in understanding and supporting people who are living with Dementia and their families and carers. Many of our team are Dementia Champions and we train our volunteers to be Dementia Friends.

Come Eat Together is an intergenerational project and we train young people to be Dementia Friends. We help them understand what it is like to live with Dementia and how they, as young people, can help.

We welcome people with Dementia who want company to our Come Eat Together activities. We have many members who have joined the project with a partner who is living with Dementia and have found it provides opportunity to relax and enjoy a meal our together.

Lunch clubs such as our Dine and Dance at Shildon Civic Hall (in the photo above) follow a delicious freshly cooked lunch with 2 hours of live tea dance music; wonderful for those who can perhaps remember to dance or sing along even if their short term memory is fading.

Members also take part in our shopping clubs, Let’s Get Growing activities and our Eat Well Feel Great course. They tell us that Come Eat Together helps them establish a network of support, get useful information and support and know who to contact for further help should it be needed.

Contact us on 0191 374 6577 for more information.

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Celebrating the Royal Wedding in Style

Many thanks to the students and staff at Derwentside College and Bishop Auckland College who made it possible for members of Come Eat Together to celebrate the Royal Wedding 2018 in style.

We have enjoyed afternoons of friendship, delicious food, sharing of memories and old wedding photos.

At Bishop Auckland College the students joined our members for a game of New Age Kurling (to use up some of the calories from the cakes!) .

Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan from us. #Weloveourjob

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State of the nation: Older people and malnutrition in the UK today

A recent State of the Nation report published by the Malnutrition Task Force called “Older people and malnutrition in the UK today” focuses on the scale of the challenge of malnutrition in later life.

As Come Eat Together aims to improve people’s access to and enjoyment of healthy, nutritious food in later life, we were interested to see what it said. We thought we would share some of the key findings with you.

What is malnutrition?
Malnutrition means literally poor or bad nutrition. It is both a cause and a consequence of ill health and is a silent and, all too often, hidden problem. It will affect health and wellbeing, increasing hospital admissions, and can lead to long-term health problems for otherwise healthy and independent older people.

For many older people, malnutrition is characterised by low body weight or weight loss, meaning simply that some older people are not eating well enough to maintain their health and wellbeing. It is usually unintentional and often goes unrecognised until it begins to impact seriously on someone’s health. It can be a cause and a consequence of ill-health and can lead to long term conditions and increasing hospital admissions.

Of the 11.6 million older people in the UK, over a million are estimated to be malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. This means that on average around one in ten people over the age of 65 are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.

The Malnutrition Task Force has identified a number of factors

Lack of awareness

  • Lack of recognition that widely publicised advice about diet and nutrition is often unsuitable for older or more vulnerable members of society.
  • A myth that it is ‘normal’ to get thin as you get older, with people believing that becoming frail is all but inevitable in later life.
  • Health messages and public health policy are preoccupied with obesity, so that weight loss is seen as desirable.
  • Although physical health and long term conditions such as COPD, poorly fitting dentures or dental problems and Dementia impact on diet, social factors impact greatly on malnutrition.


  • More than 1 million older people in the UK say they often or always feel lonely. Loneliness is frequently under-recognised or diagnosed.
  • Feeling lonely is related to a sense of loss of a role or a lack of people to identify with. Some people can feel lonely in a group whilst others enjoy being alone.
  • Loneliness and a lack of sense of belonging or purpose can lead to depression, a lack of interest in food and cooking, or a belief that such activities have no value. This increases a person’s risk of malnutrition, ill health and makes loneliness worse.

Isolation – stuck at home or lacking good company

  • Isolation is defined as a lack of contact with other people.
  • Reasons include feeling trapped at home, moving house in later life or a lack of engagement within their community or support to do so. According to a survey in 2014, 2.9 million people aged over 65 in Britain feel they have no one to turn to for help and support.
  • Enforced isolation can lead to loneliness, depression, loss of appetite and ill health.

Transitions or big changes in later life
Transitions in later life, such as bereavement or becoming a carer for a loved one can lead to loss of appetite and struggling to cook and maintain good nutrition. Yet those life changes are common among older people.

  • Carers – Every year, over 2.1 million adults become carers and almost as many people find that their caring responsibilities come to an end, meaning that caring will touch the lives of most of the population. Today, almost 1.3 million people in England and Wales aged 65 or older are carers.
  • Bereavement – In later life bereavements occur more frequently and are more common. Older people commonly experience loss of a husband, wife or partner, siblings and other relatives, friends, former colleagues and associates. Loss through bereavement can be a major stress, and along with other losses experienced in later life, can reduce older people’s ability to cope and be independent.

These life changes may mean that people have less money or have to eat, sleep and live alone for the first time, or be faced with household or financial tasks that they haven’t done before. They may become lonely and isolated, and lose appetite or struggle to cook for themselves.

Low income can affect access to basic necessities like heating, transport and food as well as opportunities to meet people, socialise and stay in touch with family and friends. This can lead to loneliness, isolation and depression and an overall reduction in quality of life.

Our Come Eat Together project makes a big difference

The report states that community based activities are an important means of reducing malnutrition because of the positive social benefits.

Come Eat Together has been praised in the past by the Malnutrition Task Force for the way in which we improve older people’s ability to access, cook and enjoy healthy food together; helping them to become more resilient and better able to cope with life changes such as retirement, bereavement or ill health.

Our lunch clubs, breakfast clubs and dining circles, bring people together to enjoy good food in company with support, activities and information. Door to door shopping clubs mean easy access to the large shops with company. Our ‘Eat Well Feel Great’ course shows people how to adapt their diet for later life and how easy it is to make meals tasty and nutritious. Sessions showing people how to grow fruit and vegetables at home and how to shop online promote new interests and independence.

An interim evaluation report  on Come Eat Together from the Institute of Health and Society/Institute for Ageing at Newcastle University reported that

Come Eat Together has successfully adopted an assets-based approach to build on and strengthen the support for older people available in the community. The community assets upon which Come Eat Together has built its activities include local volunteers, people with food-related expertise, venues able to cater for groups of older people and community transport providers. Lunch clubs set in community colleges have provided valuable opportunities for positive intergenerational exchanges, while the Healthy Eating and Grow to Eat course have allowed retirees with expertise relating to nutrition or gardening to share their knowledge and advice with attendees.”

“Come Eat Together has used innovative thinking and learning from experience to tackle the challenges of reaching isolated older people and delivering a sustainable service. From first-hand experience, Age UK County Durham has learnt that different communities have different requirements, and has developed a tailored approach to setting up new activities, which they will be able to draw on for future service design and delivery.”

If you feel lonely or know someone who would benefit from joining Come Eat Together why not contact us on 0191 374 6577 or cet@ageukcountydurham.org.uk

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Write your will week starts Monday 12 March

Will Writing Poster A4 Issue1 Jan 2018

Writing a will is sensible, easy and now, thanks to solicitors across the County, you can write your will and support the work of Age UK County Durham at the same time.

Write Your Will Week runs from Monday 12 until Friday 16 March 2018.

Book your appointment now and help us provide services to older people in County Durham

An up to date Will written by a solicitor ensures your wishes are respected. It also avoids difficult decisions and legal complications for your loved ones.

Solicitors have waived their fees and donated their time to help individuals or couples, aged 50 or over, get their affairs in order. In return they will ask for a suggested donation, all of which they pass on to Age UK County Durham.

Give us a call on 0191 374 6367 and we will find the solicitor local to you. Appointments are limited so booking is essential

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Delicious Come Eat Together lunch at The Green Tree, Tudhoe

With 2018 now underway, why not treat yourself to a nutritious low cost meal at The Green Tree, a beautiful country pub and restaurant.

A warm welcome is always assured from your hosts the Hopson family who would like to invite members of Come Eat Together to dine in style with a special low cost monthly lunch in the restaurant. We would like to invite people aged 50+ who may experience loneliness, want a break from caring for someone or just want to make new friends to come along and join in.

The next lunch will be on Tuesday 27 February 2018 at 12.30pm

The lunch will be a nutritious main meal with ice-cream dessert for £7 per person. Lunch will be followed by a fun quiz, a guest speaker or other activities members enjoy.

If you live in the Tudhoe/Spennymoor or South Durham area and would like to meet some new people and feel less lonely as we progress into the new year, please contact Come Eat Together on 0191 374 6577

The venue is The Green Tree, 41 Tudhoe Village, Co Durham, DL16 6LE

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