"Saturday mornings are always quiet at home..."
"Earlier this year I heard about Pets Against Loneliness from a volunteer with a lovely friendly Labradoodle dog called Marney. Because I live alone, the idea of Pets Against Loneliness seemed like a lovely friendly idea. Saturday mornings are always quiet at home.
So this wonderful summer I have been happy to attend the meetings. PAL brings lovely friendly dogs, and many other, perhaps lonely, people show up with and without dogs to share lovely Saturday mornings. I hope Pets Against Loneliness is able to continue because it does a lovely friendly job that really is necessary."
Pets Against Loneliness is a group of volunteers in north London whose purpose is to help alleviate loneliness in older members of the community, through connecting them with well-behaved dogs and their owners. PAL hosts informal, free, drop-in morning tea sessions on the first Saturday of every month from 10am-12noon at St. Matthias Halls, Wordsworth Rd, Stoke Newington N16 8DD.
Thanks to the presence of some of the friendliest local canines, our events are fun and engaging – but there’s a strong community feel too, and it’s a warm and welcoming space for our guests. Here’s what happens at a typical Pets Against Loneliness meet-up.
9.00am: The PAL team arrives
Pets Against Loneliness is run entirely by volunteers, and we arrive at our venue – St Matthias Halls, in London’s Stoke Newington – one hour before the official kick-off at 10am. We’ve got plenty of jobs to do before everyone arrives, like hanging up signs directing people to the entrance, arranging the room, preparing the food and drinks, and putting up the all-important bunting!
9.50am: Standing by
By this time, the room and refreshments are ready, and the volunteers have been assigned specific roles during the event, such as ‘Meeting and Greeting’.
10.00am: The kettle is on
Our first guests begin to arrive and we make them feel at home with a cup of tea or coffee and a tasty biscuit or pastry. Suddenly, Missy the golden retriever comes bounding through the door with her Dad Andy – and a collective fuss is made over her as she greets everyone!
10.45am: Conversations are in full flow
One of the great aspects of a Pets Against Loneliness meet-up is the diversity of conversations that guests, dog owners and volunteers can enjoy. In one corner there’ll be a walk down memory lane discussing London in years gone by, while in another there’ll be a chat about everything from technology to television. And the universal love of dogs among all in the room acts as an icebreaker and equaliser, so everyone’s comfortable joining in.
11.45am: Extra biscuit, anyone?
We cater for all requirements at Pets Against Loneliness, and we provide a range of refreshment options – including dairy and non-dairy milk, several teabag choices and a range of biscuits and pastries. Towards the end of the event, we ensure that anyone who wants a last cuppa or snack can pick one up.
12.10pm: Packing away
With the wagging tails of Rusty the springer spaniel and Themba the labrador heading off into the distance, it’s time for the volunteers to clean the hall, pack up and say goodbye – until next month!
10am - 12 noon:
1st February 2020
7th March 2020
4th April 2020
2nd May 2020
6th June 2020
4th July 2020
1st August 2020
5th September 2020
3rd October 2020
7th November 2020
5th December 2020