AN INITIATIVE which supports older people in remote rural areas by holding “Memory Lane Lunches,” has received nearly £10,000 to expand the scheme.

The lunches, organised by Revival North Yorkshire, a Community Interest Company (CIC), aim to help combat isolation in rural areas of the North York Moors, where limited public transport and a lack of other services often add to isolation among older generations.

The lunches provide them with a chance to meet up with old and new friends, look over old photographs and memorabilia and reminisce over a traditional meal together.

They have been successfully running for the past three years in Danby Village Hall, but now Revival North Yorkshire CIC has received Awards for All lottery funding to expand the courses to other areas of the moors.

The project was awarded £9,300, which will help pilot more lunches in two other communities.

Debbie Swales, who manages a number of projects for Revival said: “We are delighted that the work we do in our little corner of the North York Moors has been recognised and supported by a national charity.

“Though we live in such a beautiful area life can become difficult for people as they get older. With very limited public transport, much reduced - if any - access to Post Offices and banks and no external support agencies (Age UK, etc), getting support and simply meeting up with other people for a chat can become difficult.

“We aim to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, we welcome people with dementia and their carers and we love to have people who chat and smile.”

The Awards for All grant will enable Memory Lane Lunches to continue in Danby until July 2019 and in addition Revival will trial two lunches in Westerdale and two in Sleights, near Whitby.

In Sleights, Revival is supported by The Plough Inn and Yorkshire Coast Homes.

If these prove to be popular further funding will be sought to enable them to continue.

Every lunch includes old photographs of the local area and themed displays of memorabilia.

A guest is invited each month from organisations including the fire brigade, the dementia charity Making Space and GP surgeries, who share a lunch and chat to people as they sit at tables.

Debbie added: “I must thank our fabulous team of volunteers who assist with the cooking, wait on tables, wash-up, deliver meals, provide transport - it really would not be possible without their immense support.

“I am really looking forward to meeting new people in Sleights and Westerdale who would like to come along and help.”

Memory Lane Lunches are £6 which includes main meal, pudding and tea or coffee and must be booked in advance. Currently, they take place on the second Thursday of the month at Danby Village Hall.

For more details contact Debbie on; 07970955407 for more information.