Emma McDevitt and Eloner Crawford are community organisers at A Heart for Duns, a charity supporting people in the local area through the use of their town hall. Eloner, a former Trustee, helped to found the charity after she and a group of others became aware of the need for a central hub in their rural community, which is home to a largely older population.
In the last decade, the hall has become a vibrant and vital space, offering everything from a gardening group to a book swap scheme and monthly film screenings, all supported by a large team of volunteers and Emma at the helm.
As well as running a small community larder, A Heart for Duns also offers a community lunch, a much-loved monthly event launched around five years ago to bring people together to share food and conversation. With the community invited to donate £5 for their lunch, around 40 people enjoy soup, sandwiches and pudding together each month.
These lunches are more important than ever during the winter months, when the older population might particularly be struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation. That’s why in December 2022, the community pulled out all the stops for a Big Lunch at Christmas, which saw people come together to enjoy a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, followed by trifle and some festive activities.
Eloner said, “I think our Big Lunch at Christmas helped people who might be feeling lonely. I just love the idea of people coming together, especially when they’re eating. Everyone can come and join in and for the people that come along, our lunches have become a regular part of their month. The chatter that goes on is wonderful.”
I think our Big Lunch at Christmas helped people who might be feeling lonely. I just love the idea of people coming together, especially when they’re eating
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