Pubs can be a great way of finding new friends and escaping loneliness
CAMRA has responded to a survey by the Campaign To End Loneliness which revealed that people experiencing loneliness miss simple things in life, such as a drink in the pub, a country walk or a shared meal, writes Neville Grundy.
Camra itself commissioned a study by Oxford University called Friends On Tap, which explained how community pubs can help fill gaps caused by loneliness.
Christmas and New Year can actually deepen feelings of isolation because, if you’re alone, it can look as though the whole world is having a party to which you’re not invited.
But the problem is not seasonal; for many, this is a yearlong struggle.
Pubs can be one answer because you can enter and buy a drink without having to join anything, and it is accept- able to speak to strangers.
However, it’s not necessarily as easy as some people suggest.
When you are a regular pub goer, as Camra members are, walking into a pub is simple, so it’s easy for us to forget that others may find the prospect daunting, partly because of the fear that you may end up sitting on your own in an unfamiliar environment.
Furthermore, it’s still true that some women prefer not to enter a pub on their own.
First you have to find a suitable pub; not every pub is a community local.
Try to find out about suitable pubs before venturing out, for example, from other people, from the local papers and online.
Perhaps go when there is entertainment, because then it doesn’t matter if you’re watching – say – music alone as people will assume that’s why you’re there.
Quizzes, music nights and sometimes comedy are probably the most common types of entertainment.
Pub games, such as darts or pool, where you can join the queue to play, may be another way of breaking the ice.
It is not even necessary to drink alcohol; soft drinks, tea and coffee are usually available nowadays.
Simply getting out of the house can be beneficial, and it may take more than one visit before your face gets known.
Pubs cannot solve all the problems of loneliness, and some people may genuinely not like them anyway, but Camra is correct that pubs can help reduce isolation for many people.
The Southport and West Lancs Camra website is at: www. southport. camra. org. uk.
For previous Camra articles: tinyurl.com/vis-pubs.
Music can be a great way of escaping isolation. Many pubs have regular events like this acoustic song session in the Mason’s in Southport