The battle against loneliness continues at The Mall!

The Mall Blackburn’s next free Community Catch Up event will take place on Friday 13th July – and everyone is welcome!

Staggering statistics revealed by Age UK showed that there were 34,000 lonely people in Lancashire at the end of last year and that being lonely is as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Following the huge success of the first event there will be fun games and refreshments on offer from 1.00pm until 4.00pm.

Burnley born Elizabeth Hill, who is 80, came to the first event and had a fantastic time. She said: “When I heard about this event I thought I would give it a try to make new friends, and I am glad I came along!

“I have lived and travelled all over the world and am always willing to try new things. I had a go at creating a work of art with artist Anne Corless and while I am not great at drawing I really enjoyed it!

“I had a cuppa and a chat to some of the organisations that were there too and I will definitely be going to the next one.”

Elaine Jennings from Age UK Blackburn with Darwen also attended and added: “There are a number of different special interest support groups in Lancashire but, as far as I know, there aren’t any that are open to everyone, so it was great to be part of the inaugural Community Catch Up event.

“The figures released by Age UK, showing that there are more than 34,000 lonely people in Lancashire, are heartbreaking but didn’t come as a huge surprise to me.

“People can feel alone at any point and an informal setting like this is a great way for them to come along and get involved and we look forward to attending the future events and meeting people from across the county.”

Artist Anne Corless

John Gillmore, BBC Radio Lancashire’s afternoon show presenter, broadcast live from the first event and added: “We had a great time at the first Community Catch Up event and met some amazing people from across the county.

“We are proud to be part of The Mall’s fight against loneliness and look forward to attending future events.”

Anne Corless, who is a Fylde based artist, enjoyed working with attendees. She said: “I had a wonderful time and have already signed up to come along at the end of July.

“Giving people the opportunity and the support to be creative often results in interesting discussions and a fun filled time and we certainly had all that.”

“Elizabeth, one of the attendees was a little hesitant about having a go at first, so I just asked her to draw her experiences of one of her many adventures….and away she went!

“It was brilliant to see so many people turn up to support those that attended and I am sure the events are going to make a positive impact on the lives of people from across Lancashire.”

Loraine Jones, General Manager at The Mall, added: “The support we have received for our first Community Catch Up event was amazing, with so many people giving up their time to come along and help out.

“Walking into a room of people can be daunting, especially for those that aren’t used to having company, but we can guarantee a warm welcome at The Mall.

“I would like to thank all the organisations and guests that helped to make the first event a success and look forward to welcoming everyone back in the coming week and months.”

Other attendees at the first event included the Samaritans, Blackburn with Darwen Carers, SLYNCS and Sliding Doors.

The next Community Catch Up will take place on Friday 13th July from 1.00pm until 4.00pm in The Mall’s training room, which is located upstairs across from Debenhams and Home and Fragrance. More information, and future event dates can be found here

To become part of the Community Catch Up network and attend future events please contact Laura Diffey, Marketing Manager at The Mall Blackburn, on 01254 54455 or

John Gillmore and Loraine Jones at the launch event


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