Room at The Inn: Winchmore Pub Hosts Christmas Lunch as Part of Campaign to Combat Loneliness

Room at The Inn: Winchmore Pub Hosts Christmas Lunch as Part of Campaign to Combat Loneliness

Carers for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia from across the Enfield area were treated to a Christmas lunch at The Winchmore pub in Winchmore Hill this week. The meal was part of Heineken’s Brewing Good Cheer Campaign, which encourages pubs across the UK to bring those in socially isolated situations together by hosting free lunches.

With loneliness affecting over nine million people in the UK, Heineken believes pubs can play an important part in alleviating the problem by providing a welcoming place where people can connect with their neighbours and wider communities.

15 carers from the Memory Lane Café & Carers Club, which is based at St Monica’s Parish centre in Southgate, joined licensees Mark and Eimear Walsh for a four course Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Set up three years ago by carers with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia in response to the lack of local support services, the self-funded organisation provides a Friday morning social club including entertainment, activities and food for people afflicted by the illness and their carers and now has over 100 members.

Says Memory Lane founding member Mandi Empson, “Caring is a very lonely job; it’s hard to get out and easy to end up feeling isolated. Having a break and a chance to meet and talk with others in a similar situation over a lovely meal is normal for most people, but when you’re caring it’s hardly ever possible. This was the perfect Christmas gift.”

The event provided some much needed Christmas cheer for the self-funding charity which is facing the loss of its weekly meet space in April next year. “With so many people relying on Memory Lane, we’re desperate to find somewhere* and would love to hear from anyone who can help,” adds Mandi.

Brother and sister team Mark and Eimear Walsh took over The Winchmore in 2015 reopening it after a three-year closure and turning it into a much-needed community hub and winner of Best Local Pub for Enfield & Barnet 2017. Says Mark: “We believe pubs have an important social role to play, especially in big cities like London. Christmas is a time for giving back. Supporting Memory Lane, which provides such a vital and unique service to North London, was the perfect way for us to do it. Carers are too often unsung heroes. They spend their time looking after others and we were delighted to look after them for a change.”

David Paterson, corporate affairs director for Heineken said: “There really is no place like the Great British pub – it’s the place where relationships start, friendships are cemented and memories made.  We believe pubs are at the heart of communities and we’re delighted to be working once again with so many pub landlords who want to make a positive difference, not just at Christmas but all year round. We hope Brewing Good Cheer continues to raise awareness of the issue of social isolation and inspires more people and publicans like Eimear and Mark to get involved and help combat it.”