Feline better as trip to Tonbridge Cat Café helps fight loneliness
by Andy Tong | 15th March 2019
THE charity Age UK has been combating loneliness among the elderly in Tonbridge and across West Kent by organising a ‘talking bus’ trip to the Paws Cat Cafe in Angel Walk.
The scheme is organised by Age UK’s West Kent Befriending Service in association with bus company Arriva to bring isolated and vulnerable members of society together.
A double-decker full of pensioners came to town so they could enjoy some feline company over tea and cake. The third outing was a special one as it provided interaction with animals as a way of increasing the clients’ wellbeing.
The café was opened last July by Elaine Lucas and her daughter Lauren, with her 11 cats. Lauren said: “We are promoting health, wellness and positive mental attitude. Cats are often used for therapy, and they are known to be good for dementia patients.”
According to Age UK, there are 3.6 million older people living alone in the UK, of whom 1.9 million often feel ignored or invisible.
Lauren Edmonds, Marketing Manager for Arriva Kent and Surrey, said: “We feel strongly about Age UK’s vision to make this country a great place to grow older, and we were delighted to be able to work with them again by delivering our third talking bus event.
“Loneliness is something that affects us all at some point in our lives, and it has been one of our goals for a long time to do something in the local area to combat this.”
She added: “Following the great success of our event in Maidstone last year, we were eager to organise another one – this time with more of a focus on animals and the positive effect they can have on loneliness.
“It was lovely day out and we plan to run more similar events in the future.”