Local History Cafe
Local History Cafés are community based heritage and wellbeing get-togethers for nearby residents aged 50 and over experiencing, or at risk of, social isolation and loneliness.
Beauty and Utility Arts, the Leicestershire based social enterprise behind the project, work in partnership with heritage sites, supporting them to draw on their fascinating collections, knowledge and spaces to positively contribute towards the growing issue of loneliness amongst older community members. In return, organisations open their doors to more visitors and a wealth of stories, adding layers of interest to their own work.
Katherine Brown, Director of Beauty and Utility Arts commented ‘Local History Cafes offer a really great way for people to get together with other like minded residents in a very supportive environment. Sharing of information works both ways, and at existing cafes we’ve met some fascinating people and found out all sorts of interesting things together. There are many, many different reasons someone may be feeling lonely, and we want people to know they are very welcome to join us.’
Local History Cafes take place on a monthly basis, lasting around 2 and a half hours and comprise of tea and cake over a catch up, a heritage themed presentation and a related activity. So far there are meetings at Erewash Museum, Charnwood Museum and the Sir John Moore Foundation in Appleby Magna starting in November and an existing group in Lutterworth. There will be at least three more starting up in the East Midlands alone within the next 18 months and we hope the project will roll out even further in time.
All the heritage sites taking part have access to a blog space and social media, and a big part of the project is getting different venues and communities talking to each other about what they’re up to to inspire others.
Each session costs £3, payable on the day, and support towards transport may be available upon request for local residents. Spaces are limited, so to find out more, click here.
Cassie Costelow, Museum Manager at Charnwood Museum, is looking forward to the first Local History Cafe saying ‘ We’re very pleased to be part of this popular project and look forward to welcoming visitors old and new to the Museum. We play an important part in our local community and relish the opportunity to do even more.’
The rollout of Local History Cafes in the East Midlands has been made possible by funding from Leicestershire County Council and Museum Development East Midlands, who support the improvement and sustainability of museums and heritage sites around the region.
Picture courtesy of Lutterworth Local History Café.
Additional information on loneliness from The Campaign to End Loneliness
Loneliness and social isolation in the United Kingdom:
- 17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% are in contact less than once a month (Victor et al, 2003)
- Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (ONS, 2010)
- Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age UK, 2014)
- 63% of adults aged 52 or over who have been widowed, and 51% of the same group who are separated or divorced report, feeling lonely some of the time or often (Beaumont, 2013)
- 59% of adults aged over 52 who report poor health say they feel lonely some of the time or often, compared to 21% who say they are in excellent health (Beaumont, 2013)
- A higher percentage of women than men report feeling lonely some of the time or often (Beaumont, 2013)
The impact of loneliness on our health:
Loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity. Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%.
Other ways to stay in touch:
• Facebook group – search for Local History Café and ask to join
• Twitter – @LocalHistoryCaf
• Local History Café Website
• E-Newsletter (with all Beauty and Utility Arts project information)
• Beauty and Utility Arts website