“It’s not just about having an existence; it’s about having a life.”

These are the words used by a charity worker to describe the ethos behind a multi-generational club aimed to combat loneliness.

People young and old are gathering at October Books in Portswood Road each week to contrast social isolation within the community.

Organised by charity Communicare and volunteers from Saint Mary’s Church, the weekly get-together provides a space for isolated people to interact with each other and exchange pleasantries over some afternoon tea, quizzes, and board games.

Christopher Andrews, 59, from Freemantle, attends the meet-ups every Wednesday as he finds it’s positive for his mental health.

He told the Echo: “Coming here each week is good for my mental health, I don’t like being sat inside all day staring at four walls because I like to have a routine.

“I really like word games; I like to play scrabble at the table, and I have a lot of fun.

“It’s quite nice at the moment being just before Christmas as well, without the volunteers this wouldn’t be possible, and I don’t know what I’d do – I’d probably go mad!”

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Daily Echo: From left to right: Suzanne Baker, Naomi Austin, Christopher Andrews, Tricia Kenyon

Daily Echo: Volunteers and guests at the multi-generational clubVolunteers and guests at the multi-generational club (Image: Tim Kenyon)

Naomi Austin graduated from the University of Southampton in the summer and has since been working for Saint Mary’s Church.

Upon leaving university, she found she had more time to help others in the local area, spearheading the multi-generational club with the help of a few students.

She said: “I’m happy to be involved and you can see the difference it makes.

“Some people have found us by googling ‘warm places to go’ because they can’t afford to pay their heating bills.

“They might not always come back but if we can help them – even if it’s just that one time – it does help.”

Daily Echo: Graduate Naomi Austin spearheaded the clubGraduate Naomi Austin spearheaded the club (Image: Tim Kenyon)

Suzanna Baker, the community space and volunteer coordinator at October Books opened up a room in the book shop to host the club after attending a cost-of-living summit last year.

She added: “When you learn about people suffering from loneliness and you have the space that we have here, it just made sense to run a warm space in the shop.

“We get quite a few people each week and we’ve built lovely relationships with them.”

Daily Echo: Communicare service development officer Tricia KenyonCommunicare service development officer Tricia Kenyon (Image: Tim Kenyon)

Communicare in Southampton provides services to lonely and isolated people.

Service development officer Tricia Kenyon, who plays an important role in facilitating the event, reckons 70 per cent of the group’s attendees are aged over 65.

She said: “It makes a big difference. Some people hardly get out or if they do, they’re often on their own.

“It’s not just about having an existence; it’s about having a life.”

She added: “The whole point of Communicare and this multi-generational club is to increase people’s well-being by reducing loneliness and isolation.

“Students from Saint Mary’s Church really take the lead on this, and we couldn’t do it without them.”