Staff at The Guelder Rose in Southport

Guest Blog By Neville Grundy, Southport & West Lancs Campaign for Real Ale

 

Loneliness is considered one of the biggest health concerns we face. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness (www.campaigntoendloneliness.org), loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Surprisingly, young people are more likely to feel lonely than any other age group, although loneliness can affect people at any age.

As life begins to emerge from Covid-19 lockdown, it is clear that many people will have been seriously affected by the enforced isolation to which we have all been subjected.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has long promoted the important role that pubs can play in tackling loneliness and social isolation.

Pubs can help because you can enter and buy a drink without having to join anything, and it is acceptable to speak to strangers.

However, some people find such social interaction doesn’t necessarily come easily to them. When you are a regular pub goer, as CAMRA members are, walking into a pub is simple, so it’s easy for us to forget that others may find the prospect daunting, partly because of the worry that you may end up sitting on your own in an unfamiliar environment. Furthermore, it’s still true that some women prefer not to enter a pub on their own.

Read More: £10 off meals at restaurants and pubs as Southport BID urges people to dine to help local firms

First you have to find a suitable pub. Try to learn about pubs before venturing out: for example, from other people, from the local papers and on-line: CAMRA’s What Pub website, whatpub.com, lists 55,799 venues, including 37,651 serving real ale.

Perhaps go when there is entertainment, because then it doesn’t matter if you’re watching – say – music alone as people will assume that’s why you’re there.

Quizzes, music nights and sometimes comedy are probably the most common types of entertainment. Pub games, such as darts or pool where you can join the queue to play, may be another way of breaking the ice. It is not even necessary to drink alcohol: soft drinks, tea and coffee are usually available nowadays.

Simply getting out of the house can be beneficial, and it may take more than one visit before your face gets known.

Pubs cannot solve all the problems of loneliness, and they may not suit some people anyway, but CAMRA is correct that pubs can help reduce isolation for many people.

For more details please visit the Southport & West Lancs Campaign for Real Ale website at: www.southport.camra.org.uk 

(The attached photo shows visitors enjoying a drink at Heatons Bridge Inn before the Coronavirus lockdown. Photo by Neville Grundy) 

Would you like to write a Guest Blog for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com 

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