By getting older people together, we're reducing loneliness

Nina attended Eden Project Communities’ Community Camp in November 2019. Here she shares the work she's doing with her colleagues to reduce isolation and loneliness in the local community for the elderly.

I was amazed at the generosity of people with amount of food brought!

Oxford Good Food Network

Good Food Oxford was launched in December 2013 in order to help support the existing work of many organisations in and around the city to improve our food system, to catalyse new initiatives and collaborations, and to encourage more joined-up thinking, research and policy around food issues. As a result, the Oxford Good Food Charter was created to establish a statement of values for a better food system in Oxford, to make it more sustainable, and more fair.


Nina and her colleagues at Good Food Oxford, in their mission to connect the people of Oxford over food, have established a partnership with FriendLey’s. FriendLey’s is a local community group aiming to reduce isolation and loneliness in the local community for the elderly. The group meets every Wednesday morning for tea and cake, games and talks from local Oxford organisations.

For Good Food Oxford, The Big Lunch and its ability to combat social isolation and loneliness with food, provided the perfect opportunity for the two organisations to come together and bring positive change to the area.

Nina said “The Big Lunch was a perfect opportunity for FriendLey’s and ourselves to come together and tackle isolation and loneliness by coming together over food!”

The Big Lunch

The event was held as part of Oxford Green Week, city-wide summer festival which uses culture, creativity and community to inspire local people to take action against climate change, reduce their meat consumption, and to eat more vegetables.

On the day, The Great British weather meant that they decided to stay inside, and played a variety of games. Nina said, “We had lots of lovely homemade food - pakkar’s, pies, and our own homemade salads. I was amazed at the generosity of people with amount of food brought”

Nina said, “The event went perfectly. We brought salads and vegetables to make it a healthy Big Lunch, and we were amazed at how well it was received.” She continues “Often, some people may not even consider the healthy options available. To see people tucking into the food was great!”

For Nina however, The Big Lunch’s impact was much more important than introducing people to new food. She said “For us it’s important for us to keep people engaged who don’t cook often. By getting the older people together, we’re combatting isolation and loneliness, which is lovely”

Nina said “It was great seeing everyone come together. I really hope it will happen ever year, and that we continue to bring people out, who otherwise might not!”