Pets Against Loneliness

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New Unity is proud to support Pets Against Loneliness (PAL).

PAL is a group of volunteers whose aim is to help alleviate loneliness amongst the older generation by bringing together older members of our community, who may feel isolated, with friendly, well-behaved dogs and their owners, for mornings of cake, conversation, and canine company.

On the first Saturday of each month, PAL hosts free, informal, drop-in morning sessions for tea, cake and joy. They begin at 10am and end at 12pm.

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PAL’s current venue, St. Matthias Halls, is located on Wordsworth Road, N16 8DD. The venue is fully accessible. Find out more by emailing lynambrose@gmail.com.

Why was PAL formed?

New Unity aims to build love and justice in our communities and the wider world. PAL was formed to address a serious problem which affects older communities here in Islington/Hackney and beyond: loneliness and isolation.

As recent news stories have highlighted, loneliness is a widespread problem in our society, affecting every community on every street across Britain, and particularly affecting older people.

Research from Age UK has found that:

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  • There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK (No-one Should Have No One, 2016)

  • Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (No-one Should Have No One, 2016)

  • Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Evidence Review: Loneliness in Later Life, 2014)

PAL was born from the twin beliefs that older members of the community are often undervalued in our society, sometimes leading to isolation and feelings of loneliness, and that animal companionship can make a big difference to this.

Words from a PAL guest

“On a cold, slushy Saturday morning in March I went to the inaugural meeting of Pets Against Loneliness. It’s a local monthly social meeting aimed at lonely, older and isolated people.

“With the help of volunteers and a wheelchair ramp loaned by a neighbour I was able to get in. There was tea and cake and lots of well-behaved friendly dogs and their equally lovely owners. All were welcoming and kind, and I met people and dogs I would not normally meet. Sounds a bit bonkers doesn't it? But it works. Dogs are great ice breakers.”

“As I've got older it's become harder to meet new people, so I was not disappointed, and as the weather gets warmer and more people hear about it I am sure it will be successful.” – Jenni, 70