Bar praised for meal time bid to tackle loneliness

The Harbour Bar has been hailed for its efforts to bring  people together. Picture: CAMRA
The Harbour Bar has been hailed for its efforts to bring people together. Picture: CAMRA
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A growing number of pubs are helping tackle loneliness and social isolation through initiatives including offering free dinners for the elderly and meeting spaces for the local community.

The Campaign for Real Ale says dozens of pubs are running events aimed at connecting people.

Among the pubs highlighted by Camra is the The Harbour Bar in Gourdon, Montrose, which provides a free BBQ to anyone who collects a bag of rubbish from the beach.

The Harbour Bar’s major event of the year is the “Festive Feast with Friends” on Christmas Day.

This includes a free meal for anyone who might be alone on that day. They also host and sponsor the village football team, a coastal rowing team and darts, pool and cribbage teams.

Friday nights alternate between pub quiz and live music, bringing more variations on the type of customer that comes through the door.

Camra’s chairman Nik Antona said: “There’s something about the colder months when it is harder to enjoy the outdoors that makes winter particularly isolating for some.

“Christmas can exacerbate this for those without local friends or family, making the festive period an uncomfortably stark reminder of what they’re missing out on.

“That’s why we want to highlight the role that pubs play in providing social networks for so many while connecting people to events happening in their area.”

The Scotsman has launched a campaign this festive season to tackle loneliness, reach out to those who are alone at a time when others are celebrating, and support the work of charity Age Scotland.

One in six over-65s in Scotland – around 184,000 people – feel more lonely at Christmas time than at any other time of year, according to research by Age UK.