A community initiative offering men a free homecooked meal and the opportunity to meet new people is celebrating its first anniversary.
Originally funded by the National Lottery and now adopted by The Bridge Church Chepstow, Lads Lunch provides connection and friendship for men in the communities of Bulwark and Thornwell.
The scheme – a registered Warm Welcome space - was launched in November 2022 in response to national evidence of increased levels of isolation among men of various ages and the subsequent mental health impact this can have.
Local data from Chepstow Foodbank also suggested that single men were a significant proportion of its service users post Covid-19, further supporting the need for a local project.
Monmouth MP David Davies visited Lads Lunch on Thursday (9 November) to enjoy a bite to eat with guests and meet the team of volunteers.
“It was an absolute pleasure to accept the very kind invitation to join Lads Lunch and meet everyone,” he said.
“The homecooked chilli was delicious and I had my first mince pie of the season! It was a busy service and I would like to extend my thanks to the volunteers for their hard work.
“We know older people are particularly at risk of loneliness and social isolation. This is a fantastic initiative where men can go to connect with others, make new friends and feel part of their community.
Rachel Norman, café manager of the community kitchen at The Bridge Church, said: “We are so grateful that David Davies made the time to visit and see what our initiative is hoping to achieve in our community.
“As we enter into the colder months of the year, we have once again registered Lads Lunch with the Warm Welcome Space Campaign which aims to help people reduce the burden of heating costs during the cost of living crisis.
“The door is always open and we look forward to offering a warm welcome to our guests over the coming months.”