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Talkin’ Tables

2198. Marjorie Hayward

Marjorie Hayward, from Lancashire, has been tackling loneliness amongst older people across the North West through her ‘Talkin’ Tables’ scheme.

Marjorie is a former health professional who originally founded befriending service ‘Friends For You’ in Chorley in 2016, after feeling isolated and lonely one evening, returning from her daughter’s house. Marjorie gained support from the local Council and today helps 130 people every week, through her team of over 70 volunteers, who arrange weekly visits for people in areas throughout the North West, and take afternoon tea to those unable to leave their homes. Marjorie also runs an ‘After Loss’ club, which she set up in 2017, where she supports around 50 newly bereaved people each week.

Marjorie went on to establish ‘Talkin’ Tables’ in Chorley in 2021, which now has 22 tables in the region, enabling anyone experiencing loneliness in the area to access a table close to where they live. There are no membership fees, and each table has a dedicated leader who is there to welcome and encourage people, as well as stimulating conversation. Now operating at more than 70 venues across the region, Marjorie is providing a dedicated time and space for people to connect with one another, and hopes to extend the scheme to other areas of the UK.

In a personal letter to Marjorie, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

“Through your Talkin’ Tables scheme you are bringing people together across more than 70 venues, offering a dedicated space and support to help people connect with one another and form new friendships.

“I also want to thank you for the befriending service you founded, Friends For You, which together your team of volunteers makes such a difference, including by taking people out for afternoon tea – or for those unable to leave their homes, taking afternoon tea to them.”

Marjorie said:

“I feel so honoured and humbled to have received the Points of Light award. I hope this acknowledgement of the outreach of my three charities, ‘Friends for You’, ‘Chorley’s After-Loss clubs’ and ‘Talkin’ Tables’, will help me to reach more lonely people in all regions of the UK. Loneliness is a killer condition and ‘Talkin’ Tables’ conquers loneliness ‘One Table at a Time.”

Find out more about ‘Talkin’ Tables

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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