Award-winning social club tackles loneliness through board games

Members of an award-winning social club that helps older people overcome loneliness and isolation are celebrating after being awarded a community grant.

Sutton South Hello, which runs a weekly Wednesday Hello club, was awarded £677 by Sutton South, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee following a successful application.

The grant will cover the cost of printing the club’s newsletter, board games, and other items including a bingo machine.

Sutton South Hello was set up five years ago when founder Heather Honour realised there was a large number of older people living alone in the neighbourhood. In December 2012 she brought together community leaders, residents’ associations and councillors to develop ideas on how to help them.

They came up with the idea of launching a regular newsletter to provide information to residents on local activities. This evolved into the Wednesday Hello Club which meets at Christ Church hall in Sutton where people can play board games, listen to guest speakers and make new friends.

Sutton South Hello was a runner-up in the Sutton Community Spirit Awards in 2015 and now has more than 60 members.

Regular attendee, 93-year-old Nancy, who has lived in the area all her life said: “It’s somewhere to go and make friends rather than stay indoors on your own. Plus if you can’t get here under your own steam, they’ll fetch you and take you back.”

Cllr Tony Shields, chair of the Sutton South, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee, said: “The Wednesday Hello Club is a brilliant initiative and the committee was delighted to be able to support it.

“For people living in isolation, social clubs like this can often be the main highlight of their week and provide a chance to get out and make new friends.”

Local Committees run throughout the borough. For more information and details of how to apply for a Neighbourhood Grant visit the council website.

Members play board games, including 93-year-old Nancy (second from left)

Wednesday Hello Club volunteers, including founder Heather Honour (second from right)